Caddo Coroner Makes Official Ruling in Death of Wavey Austin
Shreveport Coroner Todd Thoma has made an official ruling on the death of Wavey Austin. Austin died in custody of Shreveport Police back on April 19th. Austin was the second man to die in SPD custody in April.
Thoma has ruled that Austin,63, died from cardiac arrhythmia and febrile delirium - an acute and transient confusional state with high fever. According to reports, neighbors at the Park Villa Apartments complained about Austin's behavior. An off duty SPD officer working security at the complex attempted to talk to Mr. Austin but was unsuccessful and called for paramedics when Austin did not answer the door.
When paramedics arrived on the scene, Austin was allegedly confused and combative. Due to Mr. Austin's condition, the paramedics called SPD for assistance. According to the report issued by the Coroner's office, "Austin was handcuffed so a medical evaluation could be performed. During the medical evaluation, Austin became unresponsive, and his heart rate slowed and eventually stopped. Paramedics began CPR and resuscitative measures. Austin was rushed to the closest available hospital, where further lifesaving measures proved unsuccessful. "
The Coroner's report went on to say that there was "no struggle with police and a taser was not used" during the encounter. Thoma also noted that he found an "underlying hypertensive cardiovascular disease with an enlarged heart that contributed to his cardiovascular arrhythmia." This is a much different incident than the one involving Tommie McGlothen, the other man who died recently in SPD custody. McGlothen had a violent encounter with police and was found unresponsive in the back of a cruiser. A video exists of McGlothen's encounter with police and shows the officers' physically restraining, beating and tasing McGlothen. His death too was attributed to excited delirium.
You can read the full report on Wavey Austin's death released by the Coroner's Office below:
A man who died after he had an encounter with Shreveport fire and police personnel in late April has been ruled to have perished from febrile delirium, the Caddo Parish Coroner's office has determined. Febrile delirium is an acute and transient confusional state with high fever.
Wavey Austin, 63, died April 19, 2020 at WK Pierremont Health Center, after an off-duty Shreveport Police officer working as a security guard at the Park Villa Apartments attempted to talk to Austin following a complaint by a neighbor. The officer heard incoherent noises coming from Austin's apartment and called Shreveport Fire Department paramedics after Austin would not answer his door.
When paramedics arrived, Austin was confused and combative, and medical evaluation was not possible. Police were summoned and on arrival, officers contacted Austin, who still was confused, delusional and uncooperative. Austin was handcuffed so a medical evaluation could be performed. During the medical evaluation, Austin became unresponsive, and his heart rate slowed and eventually stopped. Paramedics began CPR and resuscitative measures. Austin was rushed to the closest available hospital, where further lifesaving measures proved unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 10:46 p.m.
"There was no struggle (with police) and a Taser was not used," Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma said. He noted that Austin had a temperature of 101.5 degrees at the hospital and that upon autopsy was found to have "underlying hypertensive cardiovascular disease with an enlarged heart that contributed to his cardiovascular arrhythmia. No infective source or significant signs of trauma were found."
A complete autopsy with toxicology and microscopic tissue evaluation failed to provide a definitive cause of death. But Dr. Thoma determined that Austin had a febrile delirium and that his fever and delusional behavior were consistent with excited delirium.
However, Dr. Thoma added, "an exhaustive investigation into (Mr. Austin's)medical history and interviews with close contacts failed to reveal any risk factors that are common in this condition. The official cause of death will be Cardiac Arrhythmia secondary to Febrile Delirium."