INDIANAPOLIS – The funeral for fallen IMPD officer Rod Bradway is underway at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Officers and dignitaries have been seated as mourners await the start of the service and a musical tribute to Bradway.
Last Friday, Bradway was mortally wounded while rescuing a woman and baby held captive at gunpoint on the city’s northwest side.
Earlier Thursday morning, a flag-draped casket was wheeled into the fieldhouse as a cordon of police officers silently saluted the slain officer.
Bradway’s body, accompanied at all times by a member of the department, has rested at Crown Hill Funeral Home. The officer will be buried in the Heroes of Public Safety section of Crown Hill Cemetery Thursday afternoon.
Police cars from throughout Indiana and the nation are quietly lining up on Pennsylvania Street outside the main entrance to the fieldhouse in anticipation of a funeral procession that will leave downtown after the services.
Bradway, a five-year veteran of the force, was killed last Friday morning at the Eagle Pointe Apartments as he stormed a second floor apartment where he heard a woman screaming. The officer was responding to a 911 call reporting a domestic dispute and gunfire. As Bradway kicked in the door of Apartment 2A at 6710 Eagle Pointe North Drive, he was ambushed by Steven Byrdo, a convicted felon armed with a handgun.
Byrdo shot Bradway once in the side as the officer rushed past to rescue the woman. As he fell to the ground, Bradway fired his .40 Glock service weapon eight times, striking Byrdo at least three times. A backup officer climbed the steps as he heard gunshots, firing four times at Byrdo, who died at the scene.
Investigators told Fox 59 News Bradway’s actions undoubtedly saved at least three lives that morning. For his sacrifice, Bradway was posthumously awarded the IMPD Medal of Honor and Purple Heart.
Thursday morning’s funeral service will feature remarks by Gov. Mike Pence, Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and Police Chief Rick Hite. There will also be family remembrances and a musical tribute, “Heaven Was Needing a Hero.”
Bradway leaves behind a wife and two children.
Before becoming an IMPD officer, Bradway was a firefighter in Wayne Township.
The funeral procession will exit downtown Indianapolis along West Washington Street at approximately 1:30 p.m. and make its way past WTFD Station 81 where Bradway served.
The procession, with Bradway’s hearse bringing up the rear, will also drive past Wayne Township Fire Headquarters at 700 North High School Road before arriving at IMPD’s Northwest District Headquarters near 38th Street and Lafayette Road.
There, in front of Bradway’s police car which is decorated with balloons, flowers, teddy bears and notes from family and well-wishers, Frank 348, Bradway’s call sign, will be signaled 10-42.
In IMPD’s ten code communications system, that call signifies the end of an officer’s shift.
Bradway has remained 10-41, out of service at Eagle Pointe Apartments, since 1:58 a.m. last Friday.
After the systemwide radio call is made, the procession will continue to Crown Hill Cemetery where Bradway will be laid to rest near the gravesite of Officer David Moore, the last IMPD officer to die in the line of duty in January 2011.
A horse-drawn caisson will bear the body to the gravesite accompanied by the playing of drums and bagpipes, a 21-gun salute and “Taps.”
Bradway’s funeral comes at a time when IMPD is reeling from news of another loss in its ranks.
Detective Tim Day, a 26-year veteran of the department, died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday night.
Day was a veteran narcotics detective and currently assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit, tracking some of the most dangerous suspects in Indianapolis.
“He put his hands on a lot of killers in this town,” said one officer.
“See what 26 years of stress will do to a policeman’s heart,” said another.
Day had recently filed paperwork indicating his intention to retire.
“He will be missed by our department and city,” Chief Rick Hite said in a prepared statement. “Please continue to pray for our department’s strength as we deal with these challenging times.”
Veteran officers tell Fox 59 News that they and their troops have been stunned by the public outpouring of support from city residents in the wake of Bradway’s death.
Many officers, including Sgt. Jo Moore, mother of David Moore, won’t be attending the funeral as they join with officers, deputies and state troopers from throughout Central Indiana in patrolling the city’s streets during the services and procession.
The procession takes on a special symbolism for IMPD officers who are not only mourning and celebrating the death of a comrade but also reaffirming their strength and commitment to the city following several years of turmoil wrought by the merger between the Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, the fatal drunk driving charges leveled against Officer David Bisard and the tenure of former Public safety Director Frank Straub, which saw crime rise, morale plummet, finances devastated and dozens of police officers leave the force.
On its worst day, the men and women of IMPD will be at their best in honor of Rod Bradway.
“We must give our very, very best,” said Sgt. Steve Staletovich, “because he gave his very, very best.”
“We lost an officer but we didn’t lose,” said Lt. Chris Bailey. “We stopped evil.”