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Calif. Police Look for Officer’s Killer

November 17, 2003

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Grief-stricken officers searched around the clock for a man suspected in the killing of a rookie policeman, who was the first law enforcement official slain in the 82-year history of the Burbank Police Department.

Officer Matthew Pavelka, 26, was killed by a hail of gunfire when two men being questioned by Officer Gregory Campbell got out of their car and began firing Saturday night, police said. Both officers returned fire, killing one of the men.

The other got away, and officers in the small suburban department looked for him nonstop.

``We can’t get guys to go home,″ said Detective Kathlyne Speirs said Sunday.

Campbell, 41, was hospitalized in stable condition with wounds to the abdomen and neck.

Pavelka had responded to Campbell’s call for backup after Campbell noticed two men sitting in a Cadillac without license plates. When the driver couldn’t produce the car’s registration or a driver’s license, police said, Campbell asked him to step out of the car.

The man and his passenger both jumped out holding guns in each hand, police said. They got off 30 rounds, while the officers fired 15.

Police Chief Tom Hoefel said the parking lot where Campbell saw the car is known as the site of auto thefts, burglaries and drug crimes. Officers found three ounces of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Pavelka’s father is a veteran Los Angeles police detective, but he chose the Burbank department because he wanted to be his own man, Speirs said.

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