An officer places flowers on the patrol car of Indianapolis Police Department officer Rod Bradway, 41, who was killed in Indianapolis, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. Bradway died after being shot while responding to an early-morning domestic disturbance. The suspect was also shot and killed, according to police. The car was place at the department Northwest District Headquarters this afternoon. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: September 21, 2013 10:56PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Officers mourning an Indianapolis police officer slain while coming to the aid of a screaming woman who’d been held at gunpoint for hours are taking comfort in knowing he died during a selfless and heroic act, a police spokesman said Saturday.
Officer Rod Bradway, who died early Friday, kicked open the front door of an apartment in response to screams for help by a woman whose ex-boyfriend had held her inside at gunpoint for three hours.
The woman and her young child were unharmed in the chaos that followed, but 24-year-old Steven Byrdo was hiding behind the apartment door and allegedly ambushed and fatally shot Bradway about 2 a.m. Friday, police said.
Bradway, a 41-year-old father of two teenagers, died later at an Indianapolis hospital.
Police said Bradway returned fire, striking Byrdo before he fell to the floor and a second officer then fatally shot Byrdo, exchanging about 15 shots with the suspect.
Police spokesman Lt. Chris Bailey said Saturday fellow officers are comforted somewhat knowing that Bradway died “doing what he wanted to do, and doing it in a heroic way for a perfect stranger.”
“Officer Bradway’s actions obviously saved this woman. He kicked in that door without knowing what’s on the other side,” he said.
The woman who screamed for help hasn’t been identified by police, but while being interviewed by officers she expressed her sadness at Bradway’s death as well as thanks for his actions, Officer Kendale Adams said.
“She was very grateful and full of emotions. She was very thankful that he did what he did,” Adams said.
Officers from across Indiana and the nation are expected to attend Thursday’s funeral for Bradway at downtown Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, said Baily, who on Saturday joined members of the department and the Fraternal Order of Police in helping plan that funeral.
He said hundreds of police and other law enforcement vehicles would be part of the funeral procession to Crown Hill Cemetery, where Bradway will be buried in its Heroes of Public Safety section.
The funeral will be on the same scale as that held in 2011 for Officer David Moore, the last Indianapolis police officer killed in the line of duty.
Moore, the son of two police officers, died three days after being shot during a January 2011 traffic stop. His funeral was attended by more than 1,000 police officers from around the nation
Bailey said such funerals are heartbreaking for officers, but also a time for them to reflect on their dangerous occupation.
“It brings back memories of other people who were killed in the line of duty. And it puts this job in perspective,” he said. “The word ‘routine’ gets tossed around a lot, but there’s nothing routine about what we do because you never know what’s waiting at the car when you walk up there, what’s on the other side of the door, or what’s waiting on any of your runs.”