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‘The loss will be with us forever’

Tim Willert

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

through.”

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

Fernando Boulevard.

“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

kiss him.”

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.”


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