Word began to spread Friday morning about a tragedy that had happened in the middle of the Indianapolis night. A police officer, who was trying to talk to a man holding a woman hostage inside an Indianapolis apartment, was killed after he kicked open the door in response to that woman’s screams. He was shot and killed in the line of duty, trying to help somebody else.
Dead is 41-year-old Rod Bradway, a fireman turned police officer who dedicated his life to serving and helping others. Just last year he was awarded the Indianapolis Police Department’s Medal of Bravery for apprehending a knife-wielding man who was threatening others.
Bradway is also the son of Tom and Sheri Bradway, who for years owned Curtis TV in downtown Nappanee. He was a 1991 graduate of NorthWood High School where he ran track and played football, once booting a 51-yard field goal in the closing moments to beat NLC-rival Warsaw. After high school Bradway moved to the Indianapolis area where he met his wife, started his family and lived his life.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bradway family during this incredibly difficult time. Most of us can only inadequately imagine the pain they must feel.
Reporting on the death of police officer has become more routine than it should ever be. Yet we never get used to it. The risk for police officers is always there, behind the wheel of every police pursuit, behind the window of every traffic stop and behind the door of every domestic dispute call. It never stops.
From 2003 TO 2012, more than 1,600 police officers in the United States died in the line of duty. Causes of death include 9/11-related illnesses, heart attacks and traffic accidents. Nearly a third of those deaths — 535 — were from the bullet of a gunman. Thirty-five of those deaths were here in Indiana. During that time frame the Mishawaka Police Department lost three officers (along with a K9 partner) and the South Bend Police Department lost two.
Bradway is the third police officer with Nappanee ties to die in the line of duty. Nappanee officer Brant “Butch” Nine was shot and killed on Nov. 3, 1988 answering a call at Newcomer’s Jewelers. Nine’s partner that day, Phil Hochstetler, was shot and killed six years later as an officer with the Warsaw Police Department. And in 1999, Thomas Goodwin of the Goshen Police Department was shot and killed, the only member of the Goshen police force to die in the line of duty.
Friday’s tragedy serves as yet another sad example of the evil and torment that resides in our society. It is times like this that we must embrace the qualities of a men like Bradway, Nine, Hochstetler and Goodwin. They came to us with goodness, kindness and bravery in their hearts and paid the ultimate sacrifice to help keep us safe. God, please bless them forever.