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.


  • 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 337 Reflections

Matt, as a childhood friend and someone that remembers you as the good kid and was not the least bit surprised to hear you became a police officer, I do think about all the great things you could have done. I wonder about how many lives you would have saved. I have since run into a group of police officers that I train with (all by chance) and it occurred to me that if you were here, you would be with them. A good cop, helping the community become better. Thank you for your sacrifice. It is never forgotten.

C. LaBonte
Simi Valley

May 13, 2019

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