Lisa McCoole never met Matthew Pavelka. But that didn’t stop the
Burbank resident from paying her respects to the slain officer in
front of Police and Fire headquarters on Monday.
McCoole was accompanied by her 3-year-old daughter, Miriam, who
placed a single flower at the base of the department’s “Guardians”
statue, clutched her mother’s hand and looked skyward.
“It doesn’t get sadder than this,” McCoole said. “I think it’s a
nice show of respect that people are saying thank you to this young
man who lost his life protecting people.”
Police on Tuesday continued their search for the 19-year-old
suspected of fatally shooting Pavelka and wounding fellow Burbank
Police Officer Gregory Campbell.
Earlier, Pavelka’s parents, Michael and Sue, made an emotional
plea to the public to help bring their son’s killer to justice.
“We are devastated by this loss, and I don’t think that our lives
will ever be the same after having lost Matthew,” Mike Pavelka said
Tuesday inside police headquarters. “We may get over this hurt that
we feel now and the pain, but the loss will be with us forever.”
Matthew Pavelka, 26, a 1996 graduate of Simi Valley High School,
served in the U.S. Air Force from 1997 to 2001 and won two awards for
meritorious service, Burbank Police Sgt. William Berry said.
Pavelka was working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice
at Cal State L.A., and had recently purchased a home in the Santa
Clarita Valley, said his father, a veteran detective with the Los
Angeles Police Department.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, what happened here,” Sue Pavelka
said, her voice cracking. “It’s such a painful thing we’re all going
McCoole’s husband, Daniel, is an LAPD field training officer who
helped Burbank Police secure the area following Saturday night’s
gunfight in the north parking lot of the Ramada Inn on North San
“Every time they leave for work, there’s a sense of fear,” McCoole
said. “When my husband goes to work, I make it a point to hug and
Dozens of people, many of whom said they knew Pavelka, and some
who did not, continued to drop off candles, stuffed animals, notes
and bouquets Tuesday.
“He was a good guy,” recalled Gary George, a Pavelka family
friend. “He never got into any trouble.”
Said Bobb Faltermeier, a Burbank resident and former Kansas
firefighter: “When something like this happens, you feel it in your
heart and you pay your respects.”