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Colors run in officer’s honor

Departments join together in formation at annual event to remember fallen Burbank officer.

November 10, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — The memory of Matthew Pavelka lived on in Burbank on Thursday morning as hundreds of police officers, city officials and residents paid tribute to the Burbank Police officer who was killed in the line of duty four years ago.

The memoriam was part of the colors run, in which about 100 cadets from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy, together with members of the Burbank police and fire departments, and the Los Angeles Police Department, ran in formation with their class flag flown at the front of the procession.

The colors run happens every year and signifies the point in training where the class is recognized as the senior recruit class, Burbank Sgt. Travis Irving said.

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“It’s been going on for years and years,” he said.

“The last couple of years, they’ve been doing it in memory of fallen officers. In this class, we have two recruits who are related to Matt, so they elected to do it honor of him.”

As officers lined up on Third Street, for the first stop on the 2.5-mile run, a procession of city and county officials spoke about Pavelka and his enduring legacy.

“In seven days it will be four years since Matthew Pavelka was shot 14 times at the Ramada Inn,” Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr said. “It was truly a shocking incident and one that won’t be forgotten by any of us.”

As Stehr focused on the past, he talked about the present and the pending trial of the man who allegedly shot Pavelka in the parking lot of a Ramada Inn on North San Fernando Boulevard on Nov. 15, 2003.

“We are still anxiously awaiting the prosecution of David Garcia, who sits in L.A. County jail,” he said.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, whose office is overseeing the prosecution, assured Stehr and others that Garcia’s case has not been forgotten.

“David Garcia has not met his justice yet, but he will,” he said. “My promise to the young officers and deputies here is that whenever and wherever any of you are struck down, we will never forget.”

The multitude of departments that attended the event was reminiscent of the arrest of Garcia and the ensuing arrests of hundreds of gang members at the hands of local, state and federal authorities after Pavelka’s death, Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams said.

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