PARK RANGER: PAUL MATTHEWS PYTEL:
On Sunday July 31st 1994 Officer Paul Matthews Pytel, a nine year veteran of the Park Rangers died while chasing a murder suspect when he fell into Salado Creek during a struggle with the suspect and drowned.
Officer Pytel and a Park Ranger Probationary Officer were patrolling Martin Luther King Park when they heard shots fired. At the sound of the first shot, the Probationary Officer turned and saw three men with guns drawn. Officer Pytel chased the men a short distance in the patrol car then, after ordering the Probationary Officer to stay with the vehicle for his safety, began a foot pursuit of one suspect as he ran across a field towards Salado Creek at the back of the park. San Antonio Police Officers were dispatched to the park to assist and headed for the creek to try and cut off the fleeing suspects. As SAPD Officers were arresting two of the suspects they heard a splash in the creek farther up from them. SAPD Officers cuffed the suspects and ran to the spot where Officer Pytel and the suspect had fallen into the water. The creek was muddy and stirred up, it took several minutes to locate Officer Pytel in the water. As soon as he was pulled out of the water SAPD Officer Ernest Trevino performed CPR but was unable to revive Officer Pytel at the scene. Officer Pytel was revived for a brief time in the ambulance by Paramedics, but passed away 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 and a nine-year veteran of the San Antonio Park Rangers. Officer Pytel served in the Department’s Honor Guard, was a Field Training Officer and Bike Patrol Officer.
On May 14, 1996, The City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department renamed and dedicated the former South New Braunfels Park to Paul M. Pytel Park. The park was officially named for Officer Paul Pytel who dedicated his life keeping San Antonio Parks and the Riverwalk safe for the citizens and visitors to San Antonio.
Location of Name on National and Texas Police Monuments
National: NLEOMF: P21 - E19
Texas: TPOM: 11, B, 17
Visit Bexar County Texas Peace Officer Memorial Page “Paul Pytel” at:
Visit the Officer Down Memorial Page Patrolman Paul Matthews Pytel at: