Orlando Fernandez died after he was beaten during a rush-hour altercation Wednesday afternoon on U.S. 30. But the beating wasn't what killed him, the Allen County coroner said Thursday.
The coroner ruled the death of Fernandez, 60,a homicide but told The Journal Gazette his death was attributed to a heart attack, due to coronary artery disease.
Both Fernandez and his assailant apparently pulled to the side of the highway near the U.S. 33 interchange Wednesday. The other man got out of his car, went over to Fernandez and beat him, Fort Wayne police said.
Paramedics arrived about 5:30 p.m. to find Fernandez in serious condition complaining of chest pain, and he went into cardiopulmonary arrest. His condition was downgraded to critical as he was taken to a hospital, where he later died, police said.
“Regardless of the words exchanged on both sides leading up to this event, it is senseless and tragic to use physical violence as (a) means to solve conflict,” Fernandez's son Daniel wrote in a Facebook message to The Journal Gazette. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.
No one has been arrested and police have not offered a description of Fernandez's assailant. There are no details on how Fernandez was beaten.
His death is the 30th homicide in the county this year.
Fernandez was born in Havana, Cuba, and worked in Columbia City as a sales engineer with Pyrotek.
He left behind his wife, Ginger, two sons Daniel and Paul, a daughter, Katherine Fernandez, all of whom live in Fort Wayne, as well as other family, including a granddaughter.
“Our family is devastated by the loss of Orlando L. Fernandez. Orlando was an amazing husband, father and grandfather to the family that he leaves behind. We will remember Orlando by his tremendous personality, rambunctious laugh and endless love for those surrounding him,” Daniel Fernandez wrote in a statement from the family.