Members of the Burbank Police Department and friends gathered at the base of The Guardian Sculpture to remember two Burbank Police Officers that were killed in the line of duty and laid memorial wreaths in their memory.
The Burbank Police Honor Guard marched in with wreaths for Officer Matthew Pavelka who was gunned down on November 15 2003 after he responded to back up fellow Burbank Police officer Gregory Campbell who had stopped a suspicious car on the northside of Ramada Inn on San Fernando Blvd. The vehicle a black Cadillac Escalade with 2 males inside, officer Campbell had requested backup when the two occupants failed to show him the car registration or their driver’s license.
When officer Pavelka arrived he took up a position on the passenger side of the vehicle and within minutes both occupants exited the vehicle both armed with 2 handguns and a gun battle ensued. Both officers were struck by gunfire the officers were able to return fire killing one suspect and the other fled on foot.
The officers were both transported by Burbank Fire Department Paramedics to Saint Joseph Medical Center and rushed into emergency surgery, Officer Pavelka did not survive the shooting, and his fellow officer Campbell survived and had many months of recovery, he was unable to return to normal duties and was forced to retire.
After several days aided by Police agencies from all over the state, including the FBI, LAPD the other suspect who fled David Garcia a known member of the Vineland Boys gang was taken into custody in Tijuana Mexico.
The City of Burbank had not experienced a shooting like this in decades and the community came together to support the officers and all city employees who are a family during the days and weeks following holding candlelight vigils on the steps of the Police Station and many other events.
Officers Pavelka’s funeral was attended by over a thousand officers from many agencies, including the then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Matthew was survived by his parents Mike and Sue Pavelka and many relatives. His father Mike a 29-year member of The Los Angeles Police Department.
The other memorial wreath was laid for Officer Luther Colson who was shot while on foot patrol on November 16, 1914. He was with the Police Department for 1 year and died at the age of 33, he was survived by his wife.