The bocce tournament was well underway when retired LAPD detective Michael Pavelka turned toward the hill to orient himself.
Standing next to the clubhouse at Lakeside Golf Club, he looked out past the clubhouse gate and past Warner Bros. He craned his neck toward Forest Lawn Cemetery, which he visits on holidays and on his son’s birthday.
He never really connects with his son there.
“I feel Matthew nearby, every day, at home,” Michael Pavelka said.
On Nov. 15, 2003, Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka was gunned down while on patrol. The 26-year-old rookie had been on the job for 10 months when he responded to a call for backup that ended his watch.
He is the only officer ever killed on duty in the Burbank Police Department’s 93-year history.
Former Burbank Mayor Michael Hastings remembers setting up an outpost that night at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, helping Burbank officers coordinate with each other while staying updated on the wounded officer’s progress.