by Kai Newell, correspondent
Commander Paul Bauer of the Chicago Police Department was killed Tuesday, February 13th, while pursuing a suspect near the Loop. Bauer was 53 years old, and leaves behind a wife and a daughter. He had served 31 years in the police force, CNN reports.
Bauer was on duty at around 2:00 p.m., attending “active shooter” training, according to police officials reporting to the Chicago Tribune, when he heard a tactical officer’s radio transmission. As a police tactical team sought to interrogate a suspect with possible ties to a shooting, the suspect fled.
As Bauer heard the alert, he saw a man matching the description of the suspect. Bauer, who was in uniform, confronted the suspect near a stairwell and was shot six times. The suspect was later identified as Shomari Legghette, a four-time felon with charges going all the way back to 1994, according to Fox 10 News.
The Chicago Tribune reports Bauer stepped into his current position as a commanding officer of the Near North District, which includes Moody Bible Institute, in 2016. He frequently voiced frustration with the difficulty in getting repeat offenders off the street.
In addition to his outspoken passion for a safer Chicago, Bauer was known as a kind neighbor and family man. He attended the Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church. After the recent snowstorm, Bauer was reported to have used his snow blower to clear the sidewalk for the entire neighborhood. On Tuesday night, the fire station near Bauer’s district headquarters lowered their flags to half-mast.
Before Bauer passed away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a group of police officers had gathered outside, awaiting news of Bauer’s condition. Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced to the officers, through tears, that Bauer had passed.
“I just ask the citizens of this city to keep the Bauer family in their prayers,” he said. Officers saluted as the ambulance took the fallen commander back to Cook County medical examiner’s office, led by an entourage of police vehicles.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was traveling to Chicago from Los Angeles when he received word of the tragedy. “Commander Bauer stood for the highest ideals of our police department and our city – to serve and protect the people of Chicago,” he said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Abigail Emig, a Junior in the pre-counseling and human services major, was out shopping in the Loop when Bauer was shot. She noticed increased police activity but didn’t realize that it was due to a shooting.
“There were more sirens than usual,” she said. “There were police officers stationed on all the corners and police cars parked strategically, cutting off certain streets.”
The last police officer killed in Chicago was in 2011. Bauer is the 12th US law enforcement officer to be killed so far this year, according to CNN and Fox 10 sources.