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Slain CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer remembered on first anniversary of his murder

More than 150 people gathered at the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon — the first anniversary of the murder of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer — “to mourn, to remember, but also to give thanks.”

“Paul embodied integrity” and he “will never, ever be forgotten,” said CPD Chaplain the Rev. Dan Brandt, who previously served as pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Church in Bridgeport, just a few blocks from Bauer’s home.

Among the attendees were members of Bauer’s family, including his 14-year-old daughter, Grace, along with dozens of law enforcement officers and first responders. The 15-minute ceremony was opened and closed by a CPD bagpiper playing the national anthem and “Amazing Grace.”

“On this day, we are connected by a tragic moment,” CPD Chaplain Kimberly Lewis-Davis said. “A moment that took from us the life of Cmdr. Paul Bauer, a beloved friend, family man and dedicated father.”

Grace Bauer, 14, daughter of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, greets family members and supporters after a memorial service for her father on the first anniversary of his murder at the Thompson Center, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 13, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

At the time of his death, Bauer, 53, was commander of the CPD’s Near North District, which covers River North and most of Lincoln Park.

About 2 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2018, Bauer was headed to City Hall to meet with local aldermen to discuss crime-fighting strategies in his district when a call came over his radio that a man had fled from officers nearby.

Bauer saw the man and ran after him. He pursued the man down a Thompson Center staircase, they struggled and Bauer was shot six times. He was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital a short time later.

Shomari Legghette, 45, was charged with first-degree murder, armed violence, and possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance. Authorities said Legghette, a four-time convicted felon, was wearing body armor when he encountered Bauer.

Shomari Legghette is charged in the shooting death of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer. | CPD Photo

“He did not give his life,” Brandt said. “It was taken from us by a four-time convicted felon.”

Also in attendance were Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, Aldermen Patrick Daley Thompson, Matt O’Shea, Nick Sposato, Brian Hopkins and Brendan Reilly.

Bauer was on his way to a City Hall meeting with Hopkins and Reilly when he was killed.

Mayoral candidates Bill Daley, Bob Fioretti, Willie Wilson and former CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy, Bauer’s former boss, also were there.

“He was humble yet confident, all at the same time,” McCarthy remembered of Bauer, who previously commanded the CPD’s Mounted Unit.

McCarthy recalled that, during the protests surrounding the 2012 NATO Summit, he was standing next to Bauer in the middle of the unrest.

Police had received information, McCarthy said, that “the anarchists are going to try and break through the line [of police] right in front of us.”

“I looked at him and said ‘Paul, apparently the anarchists are going to attack right here,’” McCarthy said. “He said ‘Boss, would you just get them to move the barriers for me, please?’ and he smiled and he was just confident and he knew exactly what was going on.”