This is the last thing we should be discussing during this tragic moment, but since the mayor's hacks have opened up that discussion, let's have an honest discussion about the real reason IMPD is understaffed if that's where we want to lay the blame for Officer Bradway's shooting death. In 2007, former Mayor Bart Peterson and the Indianapolis City-County Council enacted a 65% increase in the county option income tax, a so-called public safety tax to fund IMPD at the appropriate levels, which then-mayoral candidate Greg Ballard opposed. Despite being promised at least 100 more police officers with the more than $90 million annually raised from that tax increase, there are fewer police officers today than there were when Mayor Ballard took office in 2008. Why? Because Mayor Ballard's priority one has not been public safety as he promised. Ballard has chosen his true priorities by diverting hundreds of millions of your tax dollars to finance crony capitalism for pay-to-play club members who bankroll his campaign committee like those who are now partying with him at the Rhineland Oktoberfest in Cologne. Somebody has to pay for all the private development projects he has been funding through generous tax abatements and the continuation and expansion of the TIF slush funds, which now consume 15% of the city's property tax base, not to mention the additional subsidies for the billionaire sports team owners. It is insulting and beyond reproach for these cold and calculating individuals to exploit this tragedy by blaming Indianapolis taxpayers for paying too little in taxes as the cause of Officer Bradway's death.
UPDATE: Apparently Mayor Ballard figured out that he had a real political problem on his hand being out-of-the country on yet another junket during this tragic event. His office just put out a statement saying that he has canceled the remainder of his overseas junket to Germany and is returning to the city:
“The City of Indianapolis lost a decorated hero, husband and father today. 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 a prayers.”
Due to the tragic events of this morning, Mayor Ballard will not participate in the Indy Chamber Leadership Exchange in Cologne, Germany. He is currently making arrangements to return to Indianapolis. Details will be provided at a later time.Abdul-Hakim Shabazz also sent his regards in an e-mail: "Nice to know you listen!" Well, it's nice to know you're still my most avid reader after all these years, Abdul.
WTHR has identified the suspect who was shot and killed during the shooting as well as 24-year old Steven Byrdo, who is believed to have been the boyfriend of the woman who lived in the apartment. Twitter comments from various reporters claim Byrdo had prior arrests for dealing marijuana.
UPDATE II: More details are emerging. The Star reports that Byrdo had held the woman at gunpoint inside the apartment for nearly three hours before Officer Bradway stormed into the apartment and shots were exchanged. An officer who accompanied Bradway shot and killed Byrdo.
. . . The man who shot and killed Bradway was hiding behind a door the officer kicked in when responding to the woman’s screams for help, police said.
Bradway had been talking to the suspect for several minutes, homicide Detective Thomas Lehn said. When Bradway charged in, the woman, who had been held at gunpoint for three hours, screamed to warn the officer that the suspect was behind the door.
"When the officer ran through the door, (the suspect) reached out, pointed the gun and shot him in the side," Lehn said.
In the chaos Bradway had little time to react, Lehn said.
Lehn said a second officer rushed in and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, fatally shooting him.
"There are bullet holes everywhere,” Lehn said.
Lehn said at least 15 shots were fired, six by the suspect.
Earlier in the morning the woman had run out onto the balcony before the suspect fired a shot and yanked her back in, Lehn said . . .The Star is also reporting that Byrdo had been released from prison in June after being sentenced for convicted dealing cocaine in January. He was also sentenced for similar crimes in July, 2011. Byrdo had other previous arrests, including public intoxication, disorderly conduct, dealing and possession of marijuana, and carrying a handgun without a license.
The infamous Star columnist from Cleveland wants you to know that Officer Bradway's death was caused because you're not paying enough in taxes to properly staff IMPD. The hell with the facts which prove unequivocally that having 300, 400 or 500 more police officers would not have prevented this senseless shooting. She wasn't around when your income taxes were hiked 65% a few years ago to fund public safety, and she isn't about to perform any due diligence to understand what happened with all of those new tax dollars that finds us with fewer police officers than before that gigantic tax increase. These commenter in response to her column on the Star's website hit the nail on the head:
The loss of this hero has nothing to do with politics, budgets, etc. Ask any officer and they will tell you that a domestic is the worst call to go on because you never know what you will encounter. You can't go in guns drawn like a robbery in progress or shots fired and events with a domestic can escalate quickly. Also, please don't turn this into a gun possession either. Criminals will get guns as shown by this individual regardless of the laws. This is about a hero, a father, a husband that gave his life doing his job and they deserve our respect every day and has nothing to do with anything other than good people and bad people.
If the columnist had read the story and knew exactly what happened, she'd know that politics and budgets had absolutely nothing to do with this. Instead of retreating or waiting around for additional resources to show up, this brave officer knew time was of the essence and did what he did, knowing what was on the other side of the door. The City-County Council could have approved the request to hire 80 officers or 8,000 officers, nothing would have changed the outcome of this horrific situation. There's nothing wrong with debating or writing about the police budget or politics, but to parlay this tragedy while the body is still warm is truly sickening in every sense of the word.
Axl E. David