The family of slain IMPD Officer Rod Bradway made its first public appearance, sitting in a back row at a memorial service in honor of the patrolman who died trying to rescue a mother and her daughter Friday morning.
A violinist serenaded the residents of Eagle Pointe Apartments who gathered to remember the policeman who rushed into their community after a woman held hostage for nearly three hours screamed for help and a shot was fired off a second floor balcony.
Bradway suffered a fatal gunshot wound as he kicked in the door to apartment 2-A and bolted past Steven Byrdo, a convicted felon just three months out of prison, armed with two guns, who fired, striking the officer in the side.
The 5-year Metro P.D. veteran returned fire, wounding Byrdo, who was gunned down moments later by a back-up officer.
A bullet hole marks a hallway wall, evidence of the fatal gun battle.
The sliding glass door of a neighboring apartment was damaged by gunfire and replaced by plywood.
There’s plywood, too, in the entry to 2-A, the door removed by a homicide detective Friday.
“Every night so many of these officers, deputies, do exactly what Officer Bradway was doing that night because that’s our job,” said Marion County Sheriff John Layton who attended the Beyond The Badge 5K run in Crown Hill Cemetery to honor slain Deputy Jason Baker who died in 2001. “We did stop evil that night and IMPD and the Bradway family should be very proud of the young man who gave his life for us all.”
At IMPD’s Northwest District Headquarters, Bradway’s patrol car is parked beneath a canopy. It’s draped with flowers and teddy bears and letters from people who didn’t know the officer and people who knew him better than anybody.
“You’ll always be the world to the kids and I,” reads a letter from Bradway’s wife. “I got it from here. I love you Honey bear. Love, Your Juggles.”
“I love you dad,” reads a handwritten note taped to the passenger side window of Bradway’s car. “Thank you for all you have done. I’ll grow up and make you proud. Sis.”
“You gave us the world and nothing can ever take that away,” reads a teenage boy’s block printing. “I’ll make you proud. With Love, Jonathan.”
An IMPD officer stands a quiet vigil around the clock, in honor of a fallen comrade and a uniformed recipient of best wishes from a shaken public.
“Not only did his family lose a family member,” said Christina Lovelady as she stopped by to gaze at the shrine, “the IMPD family has also lost a family member as well.
“Something has to be stopped.”
On the front bumper of Bradway’s car is a child’s drawing of a police car on the highway to heaven.
There’s a note from a kid named Zachard who didn’t know Bradway.
There’s another note on the front that reads, “My daddy and my uncle Matt are IMPD. My mommy and mammy are MCSO. When they come home I am always relieved.”
The note was signed by a young girl named Madison.