Police Officer Matthew Michael Pavelka

Police Officer Matthew Michael Pavelka

Burbank Police Department, California

End of Watch Saturday, November 15, 2003

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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.

Bio

  • 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

View all 339 Reflections

I served in the Air Force with Airman Pavelka at Lackland A.F.B. during our training at Ground Combat School and the USAF SP Academy in 1997. I remember Airman Pavelka as a great guy, with a great sense of humor, and someone who always saw the bright side of things. I was upset at hearing the news regarding his passing. May God give comfort to his family. John Bates, Veteran, USAF

" Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

John Bates, Veteran, USAF
USAF Security Police

April 4, 2020

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