- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Metropolitan Police Department officer stabbed five years ago is being laid to rest Friday, as officials await the results of an autopsy to determine whether his death is directly related to the earlier injury and should be classified a homicide.

Oscar Pedrozo, 37, of Silver Spring, died Saturday after becoming ill and being admitted to a hospital, MPD officials said. On the evening of April 20, 2007, Officer Pedrozo was stabbed in the abdomen outside of Solo’s Restaurant, at 3566 14th Street in Northwest. He was off duty at the time but tried to intervene in some sort of incident at the restaurant, said Rodney Parks, an assistant police chief who oversees human resources.

In the time since the stabbing, Officer Pedrozo had returned to full duty, working patrol in the police department’s Third District, Cmdr. Jacob Kishter said. But MPD union Chairman Kristopher Baumann said he had faced complications with injuries from the stabbing.

Officials are still awaiting autopsy results from Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which would rule whether Officer Pedrozo’s death is related to the stabbing and if it will be classified as a homicide. Police at the time identified a suspect in the stabbing as Jose “Chito” Villarta, but his name could not be located in either D.C. or federal court records and it was unclear if he was ever charged in the crime.

With Officer Pedrozo’s cause of death undetermined, it was also unclear whether he died in the line of duty — a determination that would entitle his family to additional benefits on his behalf.

Officer Pedrozo is survived by his wife and four children, according to an obituary posted online.

Cmdr. Kishter said those who lived in or frequented the Columbia Heights neighborhood might have recognized him as an officer who patrolled the area via Segway.

“He’s one of my better officers. He loved the community and loved serving the community,” he said. “He was one of those real likable guys who always had a smile on his face.”

His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Camillus Church, at 1600 St. Camillus Dr. in Silver Spring.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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