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415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sorry to have to report that another southern California officer was killed in a gunfight this past Saturday. He was a rookie with less than a year on the job. He also was an Air Force veteran and the son of an LAPD detective.

Here is this morning's update on the story from the LA Times:

a d v e r t i s e m e n t

Suspect Has Drug Ties, Police Say
Fugitive in a Burbank officer's slaying may have been based at the hotel where it occurred.
By Andrew Blankstein, Richard Fausset and Michael Krikorian
Times Staff Writers

November 18, 2003

The 19-year-old fugitive who started a deadly firefight with Burbank police in a hotel parking lot Saturday had been staying in a room there for the last month, possibly using it as a base of operations for dealing drugs or guns, a Burbank police captain said Monday.

David A. Garcia remained the subject of an intensemanhunt involving at least six law enforcement agencies.

Los Angeles Police Department officers, meanwhile, served seven warrants at locations frequented by associates of Garcia and Ramon Aranda, Garcia's alleged accomplice in the shooting. They recovered at least half a dozen weapons, a law enforcement source said Monday.

Garcia disappeared from the parking lot of the Ramada Inn at 2900 N. San Fernando Blvd. on Saturday after he and Aranda allegedly opened fire on two officers, killing rookie Matthew Pavelka, 26, and seriously wounding veteran Gregory Campbell, 41. The officers returned fire and killed Aranda, 25, of Sun Valley.

The law enforcement source Monday identified the two suspects as members of a Sun Valley-area street gang. Although not confirming that the two were gang members, Burbank Police Capt. Gordon Bowers and other officers said the men have criminal records.

Garcia's record included multiple drug-related charges.

Campbell, a decorated, 15-year veteran officer, was unaware of Garcia's history when he pulled up to the black Cadillac Escalade parked in a hotel lot, Bowers said.

The officer saw two men sitting in a car without license plates in an area well-known for drug activity, auto thefts and auto burglaries, according to Burbank police. Officials said they assume Campbell grew suspicious of the scene and checked it out.

Bowers gave the following account of the events that came next:

At 6:26 p.m., Campbell, patrolling the area alone, issued a radio call from his squad car, indicating that he was making a traffic stop of the Cadillac sport utility vehicle. He told the dispatcher he was in the Ramada Inn parking lot.

Within 20 seconds Campbell called a "Code Six" — a request for a backup officer — meaning he had decided that the situation should be treated with more caution than a typical traffic incident. He made the call from his portable radio, which probably meant that he had stepped away from his car.

At 6:29 p.m., dispatchers received a call from Pavelka's portable radio. He was screaming.

"The words were indecipherable," Bowers said. "But it was obvious it was an emergency and he needed help."

The dispatchers immediately issued a distress call, sending numerous other officers to the scene.

"We don't know if they were shooting when [Pavelka] pulled up or shortly after that," Bowers said.

Detectives continued to piece together details of the incident Monday. Based on interviews with Campbell, who was shot in the stomach and neck and is recovering in a local hospital, police said they believe the two suspects got out of the car and began shooting after the officer asked Aranda, the driver, to step outside the vehicle.

The suspects were armed with two pistols each and fired 30 shots, police said. According to one law enforcement official, 12 shots struck Pavelka.

After Garcia escaped on foot, authorities found an AR 15 assault weapon in the SUV and other guns and ammunition in and around the vehicle.

They also found a plastic kitchen container with 3 ounces of methamphetamine, although Bowers said it did not appear that Garcia had been operating a meth lab in the hotel.

As Burbank officers mourned their fallen colleague and searched for his alleged killer, grief and frustration dominated another scene about two miles from the site of the shooting.

By sundown outside the small house on Norris Avenue in Sun Valley where Aranda had grown up, nearly 40 friends and family members had arrived to offer condolences and express their shock.

Jessie Aranda, 30, said younger brother Ramon had never been a gang member and had lived in Mexico for the last year.

Police continued to seek the public's help in finding Garcia, who is considered armed and dangerous. He is 6 foot 1 and 220 pounds with a shaved head and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call Burbank detectives at (818) 238-3000 or (818) 238-3130.

230 Posts

Hopefully,after this tragic story aired on America's Most Wanted tonight,they will catch the thug,and justice can insue.

308 Posts
At least he killed one of them before the other one got him. I heard that the thugs had at least 4 guns...kinda makes you wanna carry more firepower. Stuff like this is why we all need to be getting m-4s and 870s. It pisses me off to no end when folks that aren't even on the job whine about the militirization of police...and then this happens. Lets just hope that they catch the other POS that got him. That ofc. deserves a lot of credit, he went down fighting.

415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The suspect in the murder of Officer Pavelka is still outstanding. The suspect, David A. Garcia, was profiled on America's Most Wanted last night (11/22/03). A complete description and photograph of the suspect is available on the AMW Webpage. (You will need to scroll down the page to Garcia's picture, and click on it to bring up the detailed profile for Garcia.)

Needless to say, this suspect and his associates must be considered to be armed and dangerous.

3,458 Posts
Scum bags man, it is a damn shame when any officer, more or less a young kid my age gets killed. May God rise to meet him, the wind always be to his back, and may the vengeance of God be swift to those that took his life..

415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm pleased to be able to report that the suspect in Officer Pavelka's murder has been captured in Mexico and returned to the United States. The LA Times story follows:

Suspect in police officer slaying arrested in Tijuana
Twelve days after allegedly gunning down Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, David A. Garcia is being held without bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Burbank Superior Court.
By Gary Moskowitz and Ryan Carter
The Leader

November 29, 2003

BURBANK — Investigators knew for several days that the man they believe killed Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka had fled south of the border.

"We had reason to believe that was possible, but we didn't want him to know we had reason to believe that," Burbank Police Sgt. William Berry said.

Mexican law-enforcement officials found 19-year-old David A. Garcia at a home in a residential area of Tijuana on Thursday afternoon, Burbank Police Chief Thomas Hoefel announced that night during a news conference in front of Burbank Police and Fire headquarters.

Police from several agencies had been searching for Garcia since Nov. 15, when he and Ramon Aranda, 25, allegedly opened fire on Pavelka, 26, and Officer Gregory Campbell, 41. The officers were shot after approaching Garcia and Aranda as they sat inside a 1999 Cadillac Escalade in the north parking lot of the Ramada Inn, 2900 N. San Fernando Blvd. Campbell approached the car when he saw it had paper license plates and no visible registration, and called for backup, to which Pavelka responded.

Pavelka died shortly after the gun battle. Campbell remained hospitalized Friday, recovering from wounds to his neck and stomach. He watched the news conference on television from his hospital bed, Berry said. Aranda died at the scene after being shot by the officers.

Garcia was captured by Mexican authorities, who turned him over to United States marshals at the U.S. border Thursday afternoon. Federal authorities then released Garcia into Burbank Police custody, Hoefel said.

Police declined to give specifics about what Garcia was doing when arrested, but Berry said investigators received information that several gang members and associates helped Garcia escape to Mexico. More than 60 people have been arrested in connection with the investigation into the first fatal shooting of a Burbank officer in more than 80 years.

Garcia had been staying in Tijuana for several days, it was reported. Following leads, a task force led by U.S. marshals began trying to find him there, Berry said.

But the arrest does not mean the investigation is over, police said.

"We expect more arrests," Berry said. "Just because he is in custody, it doesn't mean we will forget about the people who helped him."

Garcia, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Burbank Superior Court. A hearing for his twin brother, James, is scheduled for Monday on weapons possession charges and allegations that he helped his brother escape.

Pavelka's mother, Billie Sue, and father, Michael — along with his girlfriend, Jessica DiCristina, brother, Nick, and other family members — attended Thursday's news conference. Pavelka's mother's face remained stern during the conference. His father's eyes were glassy as he stepped in front of the cameras to speak.

"We, as a family, have been through quite a lot," said Michael Pavelka, a veteran Los Angeles Police detective.

"We are pleased that [Garcia] is in custody, and we are here to say thank you to all those who worked so hard to find him. We've been waiting for this moment. It is a sense of relief," Michael Pavelka said.

Garcia will be charged with murder and attempted murder and could also be charged with possession of firearms and narcotics, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley announced during the press conference.

"When it comes to murdering one of our Burbank Police officers, we don't forgive, and we don't forget," Cooley said Thursday.

LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell described all of the law-enforcement officers who worked to find Garcia and bring him into custody as "one body, working together."

"The message is very clear," McDonnell said Thursday. "It doesn't matter where you go after doing something like this, we will get you."

Berry said Friday was a quiet day at Burbank headquarters.

"At this point, we are just recovering," he said.

Berry did not know if any of the $110,000 in reward money offered for information in the case would be dispersed.
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