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 at the Ramada Inn 2900 N. San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank.

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 was a United States Air Force veteran with the security police. He had only served with the Burbank Police Department for 10 months. Officer Pavelka was survived by his parents, brother, and girlfriend. His father was a 29-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.

In 2004, the portion of State Highway Route 5 between West Burbank Boulevard in the City of Burbank and Hollywood Way in the City of Los Angeles in the County of Los Angeles was designated as the Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka Memorial Freeway.

There are memorial scholarship funds in Officer Pavelka's name with the Burbank Little League and the Burbank Police Department.


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

Incident Details

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

Back up for fellow officer(s), suspicious vehicle

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Officer Pavelka,
On today, the 20th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the USAF as a Security Policeman. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

November 15, 2023

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