Mark R. Madler
A Burbank Police officer acted in self-defense in the November 2003
gun battle in a hotel parking lot in which another Burbank officer
was killed, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Officers Gregory Campbell and Matthew Pavelka encountered Ramon
Aranda and David Garcia on Nov. 15 in the Ramada Inn parking lot
after Campbell noticed the SUV they were in had paper plates and no
visible registration, police said. As they approached the SUV, Aranda
and Garcia got out and opened fire on the officers, police said.
Pavelka and Aranda were both killed and Campbell was wounded.
Garcia, 21, who prosecutors have accused of killing Pavelka, got
away and was arrested two weeks later in Mexico following a manhunt
by numerous police agencies, including the Glendale Police.
The District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division found
that Campbell responded legally and appropriately when he fired and
killed Aranda, of Sun Valley.
The report focused solely on Campbell’s actions, because it was
his fire that killed Aranda. The division’s report was released July
11 and the district attorney’s office will take no further action,
according to the report.
A county prosecutor and investigator go to the scene of any
police-related shooting, said Jane Robison, an office spokeswoman.
The pair look for any discrepancies between what they find in
evidence and interviews and the version given by a police department,
“We are looking for criminal activity,” Robison said. "[We look
at] whether any evidence was planted or [ask] do stories match up
The report wraps up a year-and-a-half investigation into the
shooting. The length of time until a ruling is made is based on the
division’s workload and how long it takes a department to wrap-up its
own investigation of a shooting and turn it over to the county,
The conclusion reached by the district attorney was the same as
the department’s Shooting Review Board, said Burbank Police spokesman
Sgt. Jay Jette.
“Our review of the incident was that both officers acted
appropriately and within department guidelines and were defending
themselves from two armed attackers,” Jette said.
The department released its findings in June 2004.
Garcia faces a charge of first degree murder for Pavelka’s death
and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10.
Garcia was also among the 43 members of the Vineland Boyz street
gang indicted by a federal grand jury in June on charges of
racketeering, murder, attempted murder, drug possession and
distribution and possession of firearms.
Pavelka, 26, was the first Burbank officer killed in the line of
duty in the department’s history.
Burbank Police were investigating this week gang graffiti found on
signs marking a portion of the Golden State (5) Freeway as the
Matthew Pavelka Memorial Freeway.
The graffiti was spotted in the early morning hours on Tuesday and
included the number “187,” a reference to the state penal code for
murder, Jette said.
There was other graffiti indicating a specific gang was
responsible, but Jette would not state whether it was the Vineland
The signs have been taken down and are in evidence while the
department does its investigation, Jette said.
“No one appreciates graffiti-type vandalism,” Jette said. “But
when it’s done on a monument or a memorial-type setting, it becomes
more emotional. We hope we can locate who is responsible.”
The signs were placed along the freeway between Burbank Boulevard
and Hollywood Way in November.
* MARK MADLER covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached
at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at mark.madlerlatimes.com.