It was another domestic violence call, the kind of summons for help that police officers in this city and elsewhere respond to every day, almost every shift.
But this call cost Rod Bradway his life early Friday morning on the city’s northwestside.
The five-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department — a husband and father of two teenagers — was shot and killed when he answered a woman’s screams for help inside an apartment at the Eagle Pointe complex in Pike Township. Police say a man in the apartment — identified as 24-year-old Steven Byrdo — shot at Bradway, who fired back. Another officer killed the suspect.
Bradway died soon after at Wishard Hospital. But the woman and a child in the apartment whom he rushed to rescue are safe.
So often we take so much for granted about the men and women who patrol our streets, race to emergencies, enter dangerous settings day after day. Those dangers have been especially acute this summer, with homicides on the rise and other violence erupting regularly in neighborhoods throughout the city.
“The ongoing problem we have today is that we live in such a violent culture and so many people are carrying guns,” the Rev. Charles Harrison, who leads a crime prevention group, the Ten Point Coalition, said. “There is no regard for life, and police officers have to face that every day.”
Rod Bradway faced that reality Friday morning. A dispute. A gun in the hands of an angry man. A flash of violence. Lives lost, and others forever changed. The utter senselessness of it all is heart-breaking. The fact that such violence has become so routine, here and elsewhere, as to be no longer truly shocking is appalling.
By chance, city leaders have been locked in debate in recent weeks about how to raise the money to put more police officers on the streets and how to better compensate those who now serve. Given fiscal constraints, those aren’t easy questions to answer.
But Friday’s tragedy is a reminder of just how much we should value our police officers, how much they risk every day, how often as a community we need to say thank you to those who serve.
— The Indianapolis Star
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