Gray skies Friday reflected the somber mood of Glendale Police
officers as they patrolled unfamiliar streets while Burbank Police
buried one of their own.
After Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka was killed a week ago
tonight in a brief shootout with suspected gang members, Glendale
Police have helped the neighboring city by executing search warrants
for David A. Garcia, who is wanted in connection with the shooting.
Glendale Police lent Burbank a lieutenant, two sergeants, 22
officers to patrol the city and several civilian workers to staff
that department’s front desk, records bureau and jail to allow
Burbank personnel to attend the funeral of the first officer killed
on the job in 80 years. The Glendale men and women working in Burbank
were either off-duty and volunteering their time or part of Glendale
Police’s volunteer reserve force.
“In roll call this morning, we explained the need to act with
professionalism and dignity,” Glendale Police Lt. Pete Michael said.
“It was our way of honoring Officer Pavelka, since we could not
attend the funeral. I advised the officers, ‘Honor him by doing what
he wanted to do.’ ”
On Nov. 15, Burbank Police Officer Gregory Campbell became
suspicious when the occupants of a 1999 Cadillac Escalade could not
produce the sport utility vehicle’s registration papers. Campbell
called for backup and Pavelka responded to the scene in the north lot
of the Ramada Inn at 2900 N. San Fernando Blvd. As the officers
approached the SUV, suspected gang members Ramon Aranda, 25, and
Garcia, 19, both of Sun Valley, got out of the car and started
shooting at the two officers, police said. Campbell and Pavelka
returned fire, killing Aranda. Garcia fled on foot and was still at
Campbell’s injuries were critical, but doctors expect him to
recover. Pavelka died in surgery late that night.
As more than 3,000 people paid their respects to Pavelka during
his funeral at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, retired Burbank Police
Lt. Wade Taylor said he was happy to come in and work so another
officer could go to the funeral.
“I spent 30 years here,” Taylor said. “I look at it as, Matt spent
10 months here. His sacrifice was such that I was honored to come in
here and provide an opportunity for someone to attend his funeral.”
Activity in Burbank was minimal Friday, Glendale Police Sgt.
Javier Ruiz said, and residents have been very supportive of the
outside agencies’ efforts. One woman approached him at lunch to thank
him for his help.
The dedication and solemnity that every outside agency has given
to finding Pavelka’s alleged killer has been touching, Taylor said.
“Everybody has just been marvelous,” he said. “Looking at everyone
working on the task force -- everyone is working like a personal
friend has been killed.”