Wayne Township FD mourns loss of IMPD Officer Bradway
Indianapolis firefighters are joining police officers in their grief over losing one of their own.
Officer Rod Bradway, who died in an overnight shooting, was a firefighter before he joined the Indianapolis Metro Police Department. He served with the Wayne Township Fire Department for ten years right up until he went to the police academy.
The 41-year-old was a five-year veteran with the IMPD and received the department's Medal of Bravery. His commanding officer says Bradway came from a strong law enforcement family, and was doing exactly what he always wanted to do. Originally from Nappanee, Indiana, Bradway leaves behind his wife and two teenage children - along with many friends.
Officer Bradway worked at Station 81, his home away from home during the ten years he was a firefighter. They're grieving right alongside IMPD saying this community has truly lost the best of the best.
Justin Sparks, a Wayne Township firefighter and Clermont Police officer, knew Bradway well. Sparks' coverage area overlapped with the IMPD northwest district, and he and Bradway routinely worked calls together.
"A lot of people don't talk about their family lives. That was never the case with Rod. Rod was incredibly proud of his children, was very actively involved. He loved his kids very very much. I cannot tell you in my mind a single shift that I didn't work that at some point during our conversation we didn't talk about what the kids had done the day before and what the kids were getting ready to get done," said Sparks.
But Bradway was a firefighter much longer than he was a police officer. Eyewitness News talked to him at a training exercise in 2000 with Wayne Township Fire testing new thermal imaging cameras.
"It will better protect the community," said Bradway in 2000.
Away from family and his job, he also performed countless acts of community service helping to rescue German Shepherds. He and his wife also collected supplies to fill a large trailer to drive down to the tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma.
"Rod was a part of the family," said Sparks. "He was a giver in every aspect in everything that he did."
"He was someone I'd go to and say, 'This us what I've got, this is my plan,' and he would be my guide and teach me," said Sparks.
Officer Bradway was well loved by all who knew him. That's why news of last night's horrific shooting has hit this community so hard.
"We're very proud to call them our brothers so when an event like this happens, it brings us all down," said Capt. Mike Pruett, Wayne Twp. Fire Department.
"There's a vacuum that's created by his loss today. I think the most difficult part is when we go back to work and he's not going to be there and you're not going to see him there," said Sparks.
That's coming soon. Sparks heads back to work Saturday night and Bradway would have typically been working then.
Bradway met his wife on the job with the Wayne Township Fire Department when he was a firefighter and she was an EMT. They incorporated the department in their wedding. So, a loving, giving man who leaves a giant hole in many hearts and in this community.