CHICAGO — Mourners remembered a slain Chicago Police commander Saturday as a model officer and “one of the good guys” who was uninterested in self-promotion, even as he moved up the department’s ranks.
Of all of Commander Paul Bauer’s responsibilities, the ones that mattered the most to him were being a good husband to his wife, Erin, and good father to his daughter, Grace, several speakers said during his funeral at the Nativity of Our Lord Church.
“Erin and Grace were everything,” said former First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante, who grew up with Bauer and served with him for most of Bauer’s 31 years on the force.
Bauer, 53, was gunned down Tuesday near a government building in downtown Chicago.
Authorities say he was in a patrol car nearby when he heard a call that a man had run away from tactical officers who had approached to question him about recent drug dealing and a shooting in the area. They say Bauer spotted the man and chased him to an outer stairwell, where they struggled. Bauer was shot six times and was pronounced dead later that day at a hospital.
Prosecutors have charged Shomari Legghette, 44, with first-degree murder of a peace officer, armed violence, the unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of a controlled substance. Legghette, whose criminal record includes a conviction for armed robbery, is being held without bond.
Scores of police officers from across the U.S. joined Bauer’s family, friends and other mourners, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Bruce Rauner and former Mayor Richard Daley, at Saturday’s service.
The Rev. Dan Brandt, a Chicago Police chaplain, described Bauer as a man of faith who attended department Bible study sessions and sat in the front row with his family at Mass. Escalante said Bauer skipped his promotion ceremony when he became a captain because he had a family trip, and didn’t want to reschedule the ceremony because he didn’t need the public accolade.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson recalled Bauer taking time each day to practice English with a department custodian who was learning the language, and that he died doing what came naturally – helping other officers.
“He was a model police officer, and one of the good guys,” Johnson said.