Names released in altercation with officer and medical personnel that led to death

The police officer, two firefighters, and the suspect’s father were yelling at him to calm down or he would be tased.

Names released in altercation with officer and medical personnel that led to death
Close up Crime Scene (Source: Gray News)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - An investigation is underway after a man reportedly went into cardiac arrest and died after an altercation Friday with emergency personnel in Lunsford.

According to the Bay Volunteer Fire Department run sheet, Israel Porterfield was the person who died.

Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington says, the Bay Volunteer Fire Department was sent to a distress call about a non-responsive person, but was breathing around 4:20 p.m. Nov. 15 at an address in Lunsford.

The first volunteer firefighter on the scene was Bay Police Officer Tim Burns, who was on duty at the time.

Bay Fire Chief Donnie Davis and firefighter John Cook arrived about 8 minutes after the initial call.

When Cook arrived, he announced himself at the front door, but no one was around.

Cook said he could hear people in the back bedroom area, and went to check.

Cook opened the door and saw Officer Burns trying to control Porterfield. Cook said Porterfield was very combative and trying to take Burns' gun.

Cook jumped in to help the officer, and Chief David then came in with the medical supplies and saw the altercation, and jumped in to help control Porterfield.

While the altercation was ongoing, Cook was able to see that Porterfield did suffer a facial cut from falling like his wife told responders on the initial call, and a "bleed in the mouth, but nothing that was life-threatening."

Cook said in the report that Porterfield continued to fight all three men during this altercation. Cook said Burns and Porterfield's father were yelling at Porterfield to calm down or he would be tased.

The report states Officer Burns shot his taser and Porterfield calmed down. Burns handcuffed Porterfield’s right arm, and then the men noticed Porterfield was in distress.

Cook said the men rolled Porterfield over on his back and put the handcuffs in front to help maintain a clear airway.

The report states by this time another officer arrived and Cook began trying to medically help Porterfield.

Cooks says while he went out to get a spine board to carry Porterfield out, Medic One was in the room and conducting CPR on Porterfield.

Cook says he rode with Porterfield in the back of the Medic One ambulance, where he helped “bag and perform CPR,” on Porterfield until they arrived at St. Bernards.

In his news release, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said Porterfield was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The Craighead County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case.

Investigators are working to find out what happened, and that the state medical examiner’s office will be doing an autopsy.

The results of a preliminary autopsy in the case may be known in about a week or so, according to Craighead County Sheriff’s Investigator Ron Richardson.

Burns is currently on paid leave while the investigation is ongoing.

According to his obituary, Porterfield was a Harrisburg police officer. He was also a nationally registered paramedic.

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