Thousands Pay Tribute to Bradway's Life, Heroism
(WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Police officers representing departments from California to Virginia are among thousands of mourners paying a final tribute to fallen Indy Metro Police officer Rod Bradway.
An estimated five-thousand mourners filed into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to say goodbye to Bradway, 41, who was shot and killed last week after charging into an apartment to rescue a woman and her baby being held at gunpoint by the woman's boyfriend. The gunman, Steven Byrdo, was killed by return fire from another officer.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says Bradway acted heroically, saving two lives while at the same time changing others forever. Bradway's widow Jamie and their two teenagers approached the casket just before the start of the service, leaning in to give the officer a final kiss goodbye.
A raspy-voiced Governor Mike Pence told the congregation all of Indiana mourns Bradway's death. He was the first of several speakers to invoke Christ's declaration in the Gospel of John that there is "no greater love than to lay down one's life for his friends."
Other speakers sought to remind the audience of Bradway's life beyond his police work. Larry Thompson, the mayor of Bradway's hometown of Nappanee, says Bradway is still remembered there for a game-winning 50-yard field goal that lifted Northwood High School past archrival Warsaw more than 20 years ago. Other speakers saluted him as a devoted father. And IMPD Chaplain Rick Kassel read reminiscences from friends, including one who recalled the time he and Bradway pranked a fellow firefighter, filling the bed of his truck with hot water to produce what Kassel dubbed "a Mars Hill hot tub."
The "tub" worked pretty well -- but the weight of the water blew out the truck's shock absorbers.