On September 20, 2013, at approximately 1:52 a.m., Officer Rod L. Bradway, 41, responded to a domestic disturbance in the Eagle Pointe Apartment complex in the 6700 block of Eagle Pointe Drive North, near West 46th St. and I-465.
Upon arrival, Officer Bradway heard a woman screaming for help inside an apartment. He called for backup on his radio and told fellow officers to “step it up.” A Northwest District control operator asked Officer Bradway if he needed more assistance. He replied, “Yeah, I got to try and force entry.” Officer Bradway then forced his way through the apartment’s door to help the woman and her infant child. Steven Byrdo, a 24 year-old convicted felon, was standing behind the door and ambushed Officer Bradway as he entered the apartment. Byrdo fired at least six shots from a .380 semi-automatic pistol, mortally wounding Officer Bradway. The fatal shot went just above Officer Bradway’s body armor and into his chest. Officer Bradway fired his Glock .40 caliber service weapon eight times, with many of the shots striking Byrdo. Officer Maurice Shipley arrived during the gun battle and also shot Byrdo, who was stuck at least seven times. He died at the scene.
Medics rushed Officer Bradway to Wishard Hospital at approximately 2:10 a.m. He passed away shortly thereafter.
Investigators later learned Byrdo held the woman, described as his girlfriend, and her child hostage for several hours before the woman made her way to the apartment balcony and yelled for help. Investigators believed Byrdo intended to kill the woman, her infant child and possibly take his own life.
Steven Byrdo was released from prison in June 2013 after serving time for violation of probation after convictions for dealing cocaine and possession of cocaine.
The City of Indianapolis lost a decorated hero, husband and father today,” Mayor Greg Ballard said, “Officer Rod Bradway gave his life protecting the people of our community by charging ahead to confront the unknown. I ask the citizens of Indianapolis to join me in keeping Officer Bradway’s family, friends and brothers and sisters in IMPD in their thoughts and prayers.” Chief Rick Hite said, “Blessed are the peacemakers in our community who wear the blue, and thank God for people like Rod in this police department.” Chief Hite posthumously awarded Officer Bradway the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor.
Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs called the murder of Officer Bradway “an attack against what is right in our city.”
The funeral held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis attracted over 4,000 officers and citizens who wanted to pay their last respects to one of Indianapolis’ finest. Officer Bradway’s final resting place is in the Crown Hill Cemetery’s Heroes of Public Safety section.
Officer Bradway was a member of IMPD’s 3rd Recruit Class. He served the department for five years, and recently received the department’s Medal of Bravery for saving a suicidal man intent on killing himself with a butcher knife.
Prior to joining the IMPD, Officer Bradway was a member of the Wayne Township Fire Department as a firefighter/EMT for 10 years. Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs knew him as a dedicated man always looking for ways to help people. Many of them described Officer Bradway as a true public servant.
Always looking out for others, Officer Bradway and his wife, Jamie, organized a pet relief drive, collecting dog food, cat food and other supplies for the victims of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
Officer Bradway grew up in Nappanee, IN and was survived by his wife, his teenage son, Jonathan, and teenage daughter, Sierra.
On April 10, 2015, Officer Rod Bradway was awarded the Congressional Badge of Bravery at the Indiana War Memorial. Congress created the national award in 2008 to honor officers who are exceptionally brave in the line of duty.
U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats spoke about Bradway’s bravery and sacrifice on that day in September 2013.
Officer Bradway's children, Jonathen and Sierra, and his wife, Jamie, were all there to accept the honor handed down from the United States Attorney General.
Jamie Bradway said Rod would have been humbled to receive the honor. The room fell silent when Jamie delivered a message about her husband’s devotion. "He was proud to put the uniform on every day. I know if I could have him back, he would do the same thing all over again," Jamie said.
Sources: The Indianapolis Star, WTHR Channel 13, WISH TV Channel 8, WXIN Channel 59, WTHR Channel 6, WIBC Radio 93.1, IMPD Public Information Office.