INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis police officer died after being shot early Friday while trying to help a woman.
Officer Rod Bradway was responding to a domestic disturbance call at the Eagle Pointe Apartments in the 6700 block of Eagle Pointe Drive North when he was shot.
Lt. Chris Bailey said Bradway heard a woman screaming for help inside an apartment, and he was shot after forcing his way in to help her. The suspected shooter, 24-year-old Steven Byrdo, was shot and killed, police said.
Officer Bradway called for backup on his radio before going into the apartment, and he told fellow officers to "step it up," a police source told RTV6.
The same source said the suspect had taken up an "ambush" position inside the apartment, and as soon as Bradway entered, the suspect fired at least two shots.
One shot hit Bradway's baseball cap and knocked it off. The other shot went just above his body armor and into his chest, sources said.
Bradway was able to return fire and wound the shooter before assisting officers arrived and fatally shot the suspect.
Officials found out later that Byrdo had been holding his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint inside the apartment for as long as three hours, sources told RTV6.
"(Bradway) did what we were taught to do," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said.
Watch: IMPD chief, others make emotional statement -- see video player above
Hite said Bradway, a 5-year veteran of the force, was highly decorated and was a past recipient of the Medal of Bravery. He had also served as a member of the Wayne Township Fire Department.
Hite said he talked to Bradway's parents, who stressed how proud their son was to be an officer.
"(They) said he was so proud to wear the uniform, how it made him feel bigger than life, how he loved to come to work and do his job," Hite said.
"Blessed are the peacemakers in our community who wear the blue, and thank God for people like Rod in this police department," Hite added.
Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs called Bradway's killing "an attack against what is right in our city."
Bill Owensby, the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police, called Bradway a "true hero" and called out for the city's support.
"This city does very, very well in supporting our officers in times of need, and this is one of our greatest times of need," Owensby said. "He is a true hero in every sense of the word. He was dedicated to his community, he lived in this community, he served in this community and he unfortunately gave the ultimate sacrifice."