NAPPANEE — Nappanee residents and officials remembered Rod Bradway, a police officer at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Nappanee native who died in action early Friday morning.
Bradway, 41, was shot and killed while responding to a call around 1:50 a.m. at the 6700 block of Eagle Point Drive. He was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital in critical condition, where he later died from his wounds.
Officials identified the suspect they say shot and killed Bradway as 24-year-old Steven Byrdo. He died while exchanging gunshots with police.
Detective Thomas Lehn told The Indianapolis Star that Byrdo was hiding behind the door when Bradway kicked in and shot him as he entered the apartment.
Bradway graduated from NorthWood High School in 1991, and his presence on the high school football team has not been forgotten.
Rich Dodson was an assistant football coach at NorthWood High School, and his family is close to Bradway’s.
“Obviously the community here that knew Rod is greatly sad because he was a fine young man,” he said. “His parents and the whole family are great people.”
NorthWood Assistant Principal Jay Olson said he coached Bradway in the football and track programs.
Olson remembered Bradway as athletic and willing to help others, aspects that were reflected in his career path.
“You never want this to happen,” he said. “Especially when you know he gravitated around the areas of helping people. It’s always a tragic situation.”
Jon Andrews, who also worked as a coach for NorthWood, described Bradway as gregarious.
“Always had a smile on his face. Always concerned about others,” Andrews said. “I think he loved people and loved athletics, and both of those showed up in the way he built his life.”
Andrews and Olson remembered Bradway for his legendary 50-yard kick during a game against Warsaw.
Andrews was in college in Kansas at the time Bradway made the 50-yard field goal that resulted in NorthWood’s victory. He said he remembered being on the phone hearing a play-by-play of the game.
“I could picture the smile on his face as he did that, and that’s the moment I remember the most,” he said. “And then I remember reading about him in the paper when I got the paper in Kansas on Tuesday.
“He impacted so many people’s lives, and that was one way. On the football field.”
Andrews said he was grateful for Bradway, who put his life on the line to protect others.
“I’m extremely proud to say that I know Rod Bradway,” he said. “Especially the way he gave his life. I’m a missionary. I get to share my faith, and a lot of it is because of people like Rod, that are keeping evil at bay, so that I can do what I do.”
A visitation for Bradway will be held from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at Crown Hill Funeral Home, 700 West 38th Street, Indianapolis.
A flag presentation ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.
Bradway’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 South Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, with burial following in the Heroes of Public Safety section in Crown Hill Cemetery.