Police Officer Matthew Michael Pavelka

Police Officer Matthew Michael Pavelka

Burbank Police Department, California

End of Watch Saturday, November 15, 2003

Matthew Michael Pavelka

Officer Matthew Pavelka was shot and killed while backing up another officer investigating a suspicious vehicle at 1845 hours.

The driver of the vehicle was unable to produce a driver's license or vehicle registration before both occupants exited the car, each with two handguns, and opened fire on the officers. The suspects fired over 30 rounds from the handguns, striking both officers.

Although critically wounded, both officers were able to return fire and killed one of the suspects. The second suspect escaped, but was captured two weeks later in Tijuana, Mexico. Several semi-automatic rifles and methamphetamine were also found in the vehicle during the ensuing investigation.

The suspect was captured and on July 24, 2012 was finally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His two brothers were previously arrested and charged with aiding in his escape. Both brothers were found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Officer Pavelka had only served with the Burbank Police Department for 10 months, and had previously served as a United States Air Force Security Police officer for four years.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 84
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender One killed; One sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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My deepest condolences. You embraced a profession that is often thankless and in doing so made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the community that you swore to protect. Though I did not know you personally, your story reached Lackland AFB when I was a young trainee and I will never forget the sorrow that I felt when I heard that my community had lost one of it's officers in the line of duty. Your sacrifice serves as a reminder of the dangers that our men and women of Law Enforcement face every time they begin their shift and also as a reminder of why we need to thank them every chance we get. You are a true hero and will always be remembered. Thank you Officer Pavelka.

Aragones, TSGT

September 12, 2018

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