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‘It was the ultimate call’

Ryan Carter

Burbank Police Officer Randy Lloyd still struggles with what could

have been had he reached fallen comrades Gregory Campbell and Matthew

Pavelka the night they were shot in a Ramada Inn parking lot.

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“I think because I’m here at home, I think about it all the time,”

Lloyd said this week. “It’s a constant thing for me. We didn’t bring

him home that night. We all have our guilt stories.”

Lloyd, a motorcycle officer, had just completed a drunken-driving

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arrest at the corner of Hollywood Way and Pacific Avenue about 6:30

p.m. Nov. 15. He and Officer Peter Eirich were heading back to the

station when “the ultimate call” went out over their police radio.

Officers down. Shots fired. They could hear Pavelka moaning in

pain.

On rain-slicked streets, Lloyd and Eirich headed north on Victory

Place, toward the wounded officers at 2900 N. San Fernando Blvd.

Lloyd, though, never made it.

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When he turned right on to Buena Vista Street from San Fernando,

he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed. The impact sent him

tumbling more than 50 feet into a curb.

Lloyd, 32, suffered two broken wrists, a broken elbow and a broken

ankle. While Eirich began directing traffic around the crash scene,

Lloyd, who was still able to walk, started dropping flares.

“I knew however hurt I was, it was very minor to what I knew those

officers were going through,” Lloyd said.

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Paramedics responded to the crash site along with fellow officers,

but Lloyd waved them on to the Ramada scene, Burbank Police Sgt.

William Berry said.

“I don’t think he realized the extent to which he was hurt,” Berry

said, adding that tight-fitting boots and Lloyd’s adrenaline rush

probably dulled the pain.

Lloyd, who could see the driveway to the hotel parking lot from

the crash site, knew he and Eirich would have been first on the

scene. He later learned they also could have been ambushed.

“I was only 750 feet away [from where the shooting took place],”

he recalled. “Who knows what could have happened. Would [Pavelka]

have had more life in him or would I have encountered the suspect?”

The suspect was David A. Garcia, 19, who was arrested in Tijuana

after a massive 12-day search. Garcia and Ramon Aranda, 25, allegedly

got out of a Cadillac Escalade parked in the lot and fired 30 rounds

at the officers with two handguns apiece. Campbell was hit in the

stomach and neck, but survived. Aranda died at the scene from the

officers’ return fire.

It took a Glendale sergeant’s order for Lloyd to leave the crash

site and head to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center for treatment

of his injuries, Berry said. It was at the hospital that he finally

came face to face with Pavelka, who was dead.

“I kind of gave him my own little promise that we will honor him

and that we will get this guy,” he said.

The flashbacks are frequent for Lloyd, who is confined to a

wheelchair and expected to undergo four to six months of

rehabilitation.

“I knew that after that radio transmission, Matt was dying,” Lloyd

recalled. “The terror he must have felt. He took a lot of rounds to

his body. I can’t stop replaying the number of rounds that were

fired, and the execution-style way he died.”

Lloyd attended Pavelka’s funeral and the vigil for him at Burbank

Police and Fire headquarters. He still wears a cast on his right arm

that has written on it “In Memory of Matthew Pavelka, End of Watch

11/15/03.”

Lloyd, a seven-year veteran of the Burbank Police Department, said

he knew Pavelka, a 26-year-old rookie officer, only from passing in

the hallways.

“But I felt a bond,” he said. “I felt I became part of this

incident, a little bit closer to it than others. Out of respect, I

had to be at the funeral.”


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