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Fort Worth, Texas News

Fort Worth Police Officer Survives Widowmaker Heart Attack Thank Heroic Efforts of Colleagues

Officer Parker (left) - photo courtesy of FWPD

Fort Worth Police Officer Terrence Parker narrowly escaped a life-threatening situation during a routine task at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

On that day, Parker felt an icy tingling sensation in his throat but ignored it. The feeling was familiar because he experienced it sometimes during a tough workout. This time, that icy sensation came on while loading a Tahoe full of FWPD Recruitment equipment for a Spartan Race in Austin. Moments later, Parker fell unconscious on the ground and remained there clinically dead for approximately 15 minutes.

Coworkers that saw his phone drop to the floor before seeing him fall, immediately knew something was wrong.

As soon as he hit the floor, Police and Fire personnel sprang into action to perform CPR. It took less than two minutes for them to assess the situation and begin chest compressions. The timing was crucial. Almost every coworker who was working to save his life has known him for more than five years. This was personal.

Doctors later affirmed the critical role of the initial chest compressions, which helped alleviate blockage in Parker's left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Subsequently, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which had previously saved the lives of three other officers at the complex, was brought in. Its importance in Parker's case led to discussions about whether such devices should be treated as sacred artifacts or remain accessible to potentially save more lives.

During the chaotic scene, Parker received six shocks from the AED, each one a lifeline in the fight to revive him. Witnesses described his body tensing with each shock, and at one point, he shed a tear, showcasing the emotional intensity of the moment. Amidst the chaos, one officer's encouraging words, "You’re not going anywhere!" echoed, a testament to the unwavering determination to keep Parker alive.

“Fortunately, it happened here at Bob Bolen, where we have all the resources, training, and proper equipment on site to get him stabilized and transported as quickly as possible,” said Fort Worth Firefighter Craig Trojacek.

The stabilization efforts that took place with Parker before he was transported reduced the number of tasks the doctors had to do at the hospital, which means they were quickly able to treat the heart attack.

Parker suffered what’s known as a “widowmaker” heart attack, which, according to the Cleveland Clinic, happens when there is a blockage in the LAD artery. That means blood can’t move through the LAD, which provides 50% of the heart muscle’s blood supply.

“Confusion. I feel confused,” says Officer Parker of how he's feeling after his brush with death. “Why me? Why now? I have survivor’s guilt, like in the military when you survive a traumatic or deadly attack. Why am I the lucky one? What is my purpose?”

Parker is a dedicated public servant. Before serving 14 years in law enforcement, 11 of those at FWPD, he served 31 years in the U.S. Army (Military Police K9).

Lessons Learned

When asked what is a lesson he hopes to share with others?

“Get your yearly physical. Get checked each year. Don’t second-guess yourself. I didn’t think this would happen to me. I’m in the gym all the time,” says Parker. “You just don’t know what’s going on inside until a doctor can have a look.”

Until two weeks ago, he may have gone to the doctor approximately eight times in his entire life, he says.

The other lesson?

“Take AED training seriously. Take CPR classes and be confident with the knowledge you have once you’re certified,” Parker says. “You never know when you may be the person to save another life. I’m proof. It works.”

Fort Worth City Council Recognized Team Involved

On Tuesday, June 4, Fort Worth City Council members recognized and honored Parker and the team of Fort Worth Police Officers, Firefighters, and MedStar personnel involved in saving Parker’s life. Pictures from the meeting can be found in the Media Portal.


Parker does not have any side effects from the heart attack, which doctors tell him is incredibly rare. He says his health is now his priority because he realizes it’s not just about him. With a loving wife and children, he’s got a lot of life left to live.

Fort Worth Police and Fire are bringing awareness to National CPR and AED Awareness Week, recognized yearly from June 1-7. Officer Parker’s story of resilience and the lifesaving measures taken by his First Responder family is a real-life example of how these skills can apply to anyone willing to learn CPR and how to use an AED.

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