Cmdr. Paul Bauer’s widow writes thank-you letter to Chicago

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Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer’s wife, Erin, and daughter, Grace, watch as pallbearers place his casket into the hearse after the funeral at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Cmdr. Bauer was shot to death Tuesday outside the Thompson Center, where he had confronted a man who was fleeing other officers. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The widow of slain Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer has penned a thank-you letter to the City of Chicago, expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support shown to the family and for demonstrating that “the good people in this world far outnumber the bad.”

Erin Bauer’s letter, published Tuesday, reads:

“I sit here writing a letter that I never thought I’d have to write. On February 13, my husband and Grace’s dad, Paul Bauer, was violently taken from us. Needless to say, our hearts are broken in a million pieces, and our lives are forever changed. But that’s not the reason I am writing.

“I’m writing to thank the people of Chicago for the outpouring of love and support at this horrendous time in our lives.

“Paul would have been terribly upset that he inconvenienced so many people with the parking restrictions in our beloved Bridgeport. He would have winced at the thought that the Dan Ryan closed down for the funeral procession. He never wanted to be in the spotlight. He never thought of himself, only others.

“I want to thank those of you waited for hours in the cold to attend his wake and funeral. You have no idea how much that meant to us.

“If I wasn’t out of tears, I would have cried the entire route to the cemetery. I want you to know that I saw each and every one of you who stopped on the side of the road to salute as the hearse went by. I saw the blue blanket draped over the fence along the expressway and the large banners with Paul’s pictures.

“The trip down 111th Street stands out in my mind. There were families with small children waiting in the bitter cold to say a prayer, hold a homemade sign or wave a flag. There were young and old. The Chicago Fire Department was there with their trucks, while so many of its men and women saluted as we drove by.

“I saw people of every color taking time out of their day, not only to pay respects to Paul, but to the entire Chicago Police Department. They are the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line each day to protect people they don’t even know. They are my new family.

“I saw each and every one of you from the darkened window of my car. The good people in this world far outnumber the bad. Grace and I are humbled, as Paul would be.

“One man almost stole my faith in humanity, but the City of Chicago and the rest of the nation restored it, and I want to thank you for that.”

About 2 p.m. on Feb. 13, Bauer was fatally shot outside the Thompson Center. Authorities charged Shomari Legghette, 44, with first-degree murder of a police officer, aggravated use of a weapon by a felon and drug possession.

Earlier that day, Bauer, who was wearing his uniform, had attended “active shooter” training in handling mass shootings. He was planning to meet later with aldermen at City Hall to discuss his efforts to quell violence in his Near North District.

Bauer was unable to fire his weapon during a struggle with Legghette in the stairwell, police said.

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