A repeat felon with a decades-long rap sheet was held without bond on Thursday for the murder of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer.
As he shuffled into court in shackles for a bond hearing, Shomari Legghette looked out at a courtroom filled with police officers and prosecutors – a crowd that filled the pews and lined the walls.
Seated in a row near the front was a frowning Supt. Eddie Johnson.
Legghette fired seven shots during a struggle with Bauer in a stairwell at the Thompson Center on Tuesday afternoon, striking the 31-year CPD veteran in the head, neck, torso, back and wrist — six separate wounds in all, said Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo.
Legghette, whose four felony convictions included a 1998 armed robbery, faces a sentence of life in prison on charges of first-degree murder of a police officer, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and drug possession.
Flanked by four sheriff’s deputies in army-green uniforms, Legghette, 44, was silent during the brief hearing, and showed no emotion as Lisuzzo outlined the evidence against him.
Bauer, whose 18th District covered territory just north of the downtown state office building, had been at the Thompson Center for a training session when a call went out from officers who had tried to stop Legghette on Lower Wacker as they tried questioning him about a shooting that occurred Friday afternoon. Bauer, in full uniform and driving his police vehicle, spotted Legghette, and got out of his car to give chase, Lisuzzo said.
Video showed Bauer chasing Legghette down the Clark Street side of the building, and the commander caught up to Legghette at the top of a staircase and the two struggled. Lisuzzo said video cameras on or around the building showed the foot chase and the beginning of the tussle, but did not mention video showing what happened after either fell or was pulled onto a landing below.
“Based on physical evidence, Commander Bauer and (Legghette) continued to struggle on the lower landing,” Lisuzzo said. Police officials said there was no body camera footage of the struggle.
Other officers captured Legghette seconds after the shooting. Bauer’s pistol still was in its holster, Lisuzzo said. Legghette allegedly had a loaded 9-millimeter handgun with an extended clip in his coat pocket, and police also recovered cocaine, heroin, marijuana and a “sharp object”— described as an ice pick by sources familiar with the case.
Legghette also was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Multiple witnesses saw Bauer chase Legghette to the staircase, and saw Legghette run from the stairwell after hearing the gunshots.
Bauer, 53, lived with his wife and 13-year-old daughter in the Bridgeport neighborhood. He was the distant cousin of Officer Martin Darcy Jr., who was fatally shot in the line of duty in 1982, authorities confirmed.
Bauer’s killing was the first time an officer has been shot to death in the line of duty since 2011.
Bauer is remembered for his efforts to reach out to residents of his district to hear their concerns about crime. He was outspoken in his views that the criminal justice system isn’t doing enough to lock up repeat offenders.
Assistant Public Defender Kathleen Moriarty said Legghette had graduated from Dunbar Vocational High School, and had attended college classes at Kennedy-King College in Chicago and a school in Mississippi.
Legghette has worked in construction and as a laborer, and has an 11-year-old daughter, Moriarty said.
News stories said he played high-school basketball for Dunbar Vocational, with 23 points and eight rebounds attributed to him in one game in 1991.
But people who know Legghette say he didn’t stay on the basketball team through his senior year and was basically in trouble since then.