INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis police officer fatally shot last week as he tried to help a woman whod been held at gunpoint for hours was remembered Thursday as a hero, a loving father and a prankster with an impish grin during a tribute-filled funeral attended by hundreds of fellow officers.
Gov. Mike Pence praised Officer Rod Bradway, saying courage is not found in words but in deeds. After speaking to the crowd of about 4,000 people at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pence approached Bradways wife, Jamie, and hugged her and the couples two teenage children, daughter Sierra and son Jonathan.
Bradway, 41, joined the Indianapolis police force five years ago. He grew up in Nappanee, and his late grandfather served 37 years as a firefighter in that northern Indiana community.
Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson told mourners that Bradways career, including a stint as a Wayne Township firefighter in Elkhart County, was inspired by his grandfather.
In the months ahead, Rods name will be etched on monuments in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., but his name, service and who he was and what he stood for will be etched in our minds and our hearts forever, Thompson said.
Phil Bacon, senior chaplain for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, told mourners that Bradways actions Sept. 20 were the behavior of a modern-day hero.
During the early hours on that day, Bradway was called to an apartment where a woman had been held at gunpoint for three hours by an ex-boyfriend.
As he stood outside talking to the gunman through the door, the woman inside screamed for help.
Bradway kicked in the door and raced inside the apartment. Police say the gunman was hiding behind the door and shot the officer.
They say the gunman was killed after Bradway and another officer returned fire. Bradway also died from the gunshot that hit him.
The woman and her young child were not injured.
The turnout for the funeral was so massive, it took mourners more than an hour to file into the arena, pass the officers open, flag-draped casket, and be seated.
Bradways children are both members of Decatur High Schools marching band, which performed at their fathers funeral at their request.
Lance Newton, youth minister at West Newton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, where Bradway attended services with his family, said he asked the officers son to share the one memory that best described his father.
Jonathan told me after a moments pause, that it was his mischievous smile and the many stories attached to that smile, Newton said told mourners.
Bradway was to be buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis in the cemeterys Heroes of Public Safety section.