Los Angeles: A freeway sign was unveiled today in memory of Police Officer Steve Gajda who was shot and killed in the line of duty 10 years ago.
“Officer Gajda was doing what every law enforcement officer does each and everyday protecting the residents of their City, said Police Chief William Bratton. “On this day Officer Gajda gave the ultimate sacrifice for any law enforcement officer. He will always be remembered.”
Officer Steve Gajda, 29, was killed on January 1, 1998. On the night of the shooting, Officer Gajda was assigned to a unit geared towards stopping citizens from shooting guns in the air in celebration of New Year’s Eve. Officer Gajda and other officers stopped at a party, which seemed out of control to issue a warning. While they were approaching, several gang members fled and were pursued by the officers. Officer Gajda chased one man who appeared to have a weapon in his waistband and was shot and killed in the ensuing struggle. Two officers on the scene returned fire, killing the 17-year-old suspect who had been wanted for murder since March of 1997.
Officer Steve Gajda, a seven-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department, joined the department after a stint as a helicopter mechanic in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, he moved with his family to the San Fernando Valley in 1978, and graduated from Cleveland High School in Reseda in 1986.