FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) - Several people in the Fort Wayne community are coming together to pay their respects to Fort Wayne police Officer David Tinsley.
The 50-year-old's squad car is parked in front of the Allen County courthouse in downtown Fort Wayne.
"We know darn good and well that he would have put his life on the line at any point or any time, if we called for help, now that David has gone to the Lord. We need to be here to be behind him," said Jerry Vanderveer who made his way out to Officer Tinsley's car to pay his respects.
Vanderveer placed rows of American Flags behind fallen Officer Tinsley's parked squad car and added, "It's not just the officers, it's their whole family that is involved in them walking out that door every night or every morning, and you are praying under your breath or it is in the back of your mind that dad or mom or my husband is coming back or not, and you just don't know."
Officer Tinsley's wife and three children never expected that he wouldn't return when he left the house Monday night after chasing a stolen pick-up truck.
Police say Officer Tinsley collapsed and later died.
A black cloth is now draped over the windshield of his squad car, and flags with the thin blue line mark his sacrifice.
Now? The people he served are stopping by to say thank you.
"After all, they are there 24/7, 365 days a year, and when we call, they come," said Caroline DeVoe.
"It is very difficult to lose a family member, and that is what I think people feel when an officer is lost," added Deb Morrone who came to pay her respects.
That is how Vanderveer felt. He lives on the southeast side of town where Officer Tinsley worked during his entire 16 years of service.
Vanderveer said, "When you have an officer who at some point could have saved your life and would have if the need came, and then all the sudden they are gone, that means one less protector that we have in the community."