Caddo Coroner releases cause of death of second man who died in SPD custody

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Caddo Parish Coroner’s office today released the cause of death of a Shreveport man who died after an encounter with members of the Shreveport Fire and Police departments.

The coroner ruled 63-year-old Wavey Austin’s cause of death was Cardiac Arrhythmia secondary to Febrile Delirium. Austin died April 19 at Willis Knighton Pierremont Health Center.

According to the coroner’s office, 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 did not answer his door.

Authorities say when paramedics arrived, Austin was confused and combative, and a 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, eventually stopping.

Paramedics began CPR and resuscitative measures. Austin was rushed to the closest available hospital, where 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 Austin had a temperature of 101.5 degrees at the hospital and in the 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 Thoma determined Austin had a febrile delirium and that his fever and delusional behavior were consistent with excited delirium.

However, 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.”

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