Officer Matthew PavelkaBurbank Police Department
The Burbank Police Department had not lost an officer in the line of duty by gunfire for more than eighty-three years. On the evening of November 15, 2003, that all changed. Veteran Officer, Gregory Campbell had stopped a newer Cadillac Escalade SUV, without license plates, containing two males. The area where the stop was made was well known for drug trafficking and other criminal activity, so Campbell wisely called for backup.
The first officer to respond was 26 year old Matthew Pavelka, who had been in the field as a police officer for just ten months. When Campbell and Pavelka approached the suspect vehicle and ordered the two male subjects to exit the vehicle, they both alighted firing automatic weapons. Both Campbell And Pavelka were wounded several times, but in the ensuing exchange of gun fire, the officers mortally wounded one of the gunmen, 25-year-old Ramon Aranda. The other suspect, later identified as 19-year-old David A. Garcia escaped on foot.
Both of the wounded officers were transported to a local hospital, where Officer Pavelka died during surgery and Officer Campbell was treated and remained in critical but stable condition.
On Friday morning, November 20th, memorial services for Officer Matthew Pavelka were conducted at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. In attendance, in addition to family and friends, were several thousand peace officers from a myriad of jurisdictions.
Officer Pavelka is survived by his father Michael Pavelka, a 29-year veteran detective of the Los Angeles Police Department, and his mother Sue Pavelka.