Park Police Officer Paul Matthew Pytel
Officer Paul Pytel, a nine year veteran of the Park Police drowned while chasing a murder suspect when he was pushed, or fell, into Salado Creek during a struggle with the actor. The suspect was wanted in connection with a shooting earlier. Park Police Probationary Officer Gabriel Escobedo and Officer Pytel had been working in Martin Luther King Park and heard shots fired. At the sound of the first shot, Officer Escobedo turned and saw three men with guns drawn among a group of about five. Officer Escobedo said that while he could see only three weapons, all the men had their arms extended straight out in front of them, as if they were firing as well. Officer Pytel chased the men in his vehicle then began a foot pursuit as they ran across a field and toward Salado Creek at the back of the park. San Antonio Police Officer Ernest Trevino was dispatched to the park and headed for the creek to try and cut off the fleeing suspects. Officer Trevino arrested two of the suspects at the same time he heard a splash in the creek. Officer Trevino cuffed the suspects, and headed for the spot where Officer Pytel had gone in the water. The creek was muddy and stirred up and it took several minutes to locate Officer Pytel; when he was pulled out, Officer Trevino performed CPR but was unable to revive him. Officer Pytel was revived shortly in the ambulance by San Antonio EMS Officers, but passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Officer Pytel became the first San Antonio Park Ranger to die in the line of duty. He was a graduate of Burbank High School, a nine-year veteran of the Park Police, served in the Department’s Honor Guard and was a Field Training Officer and Bike Patrol Officer. Ranger Pytel was survived by his wife, mother, father, 2 brothers and 1 sister.
On May 14, 1996, The City of San Antonio dedicated former South New Braunfels Park to Pytel Park, located 6200 S. New Braunfels. The park was officially named for Officer Paul Pytel who dedicated his life to keeping San Antonio Parks safe for the citizens of San Antonio.
Paul Pytel Park
Officer Paul Matthew Pytel
Cause of Death: Drowned
End of Watch: Sunday, July 31, 1994
Date of Incident: Sunday, July 31, 1994
Badge Number: 9826
Tour of Duty: 9 years
Buried: San Fernando Cemetery #3
Location of Name on National and Texas Police Monuments
NLEOMF: P21 - E19
TPOM: 11, B, 17
Bexar County Texas Peace Officer Memorial Page: