A police commander was shot to death while responding to a call in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, according to a statement made by local authorities.
Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, heard the call over the radio after a police tactical team attempted to question a man near State Street and Wacker Drive about a shooting, according to department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. When they attempted to approach the man, he took off running.
Bauer, who was reportedly nearby and in uniform, saw the suspect matching the description he’d heard over the radio and attempted to question him. An altercation broke out soon thereafter, and in the ensuing struggle, Bauer was shot multiple times.
“People were shouting at each other, because people thought it was a riot, and so did we,” said Gloria Schmidt, who said she had been inside a nearby courthouse and came outside shortly after the shooting. “It was just hysteria,” she said.
The police soon caught up with the suspect and were able to take him into custody. The suspect’s name has not yet been released.
“Commander Bauer stood for the highest ideals of our police department and our city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
Commander Bauer was a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and was the first officer to be killed in the city since 2011. He was also the highest ranking officer to be killed in the line of duty in decades.
“It’s a difficult day for us, but we will get through it,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson of the Chicago police.
According to the website Officer Down Memorial Page, Bauer is the 12th police officer to be killed in a shooting in the United States so far this year, a sharp uptick in monthly averages since last year, which saw a total of 46 police officers killed by gunfire.
Bauer had recently drawn headlines in local media outlets for voicing his frustrations about the difficulties he’d seen the department face with career criminals; repeat offenders that just kept cycling through the system.
“We’re not talking about the guy who stole a loaf of bread from the store to feed his family,” he said in November 2017. “We’re talking about career robbers, burglars, drug dealers. These are all crimes against the community. They need to be off the street.”
Although the suspect’s identity has not been released, the Chicago Tribune claims to have confirmed with local law enforcement officials that the suspect that was taken into custody was armed and wearing a ballistic vest. They also claim he had a history of felony convictions dating back to 1994. The charges reportedly included “possession of body armor, heroin possession and possession of a defaced firearm.” SOFREP has not been able to independently corroborate those claims.
Bauer is survived by his wife and a thirteen-year-old daughter.
Commander Paul Bauer
End of watch: February 13, 2018 . pic.twitter.com/fdVdz618fA
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) February 13, 2018
Image courtesy of the Chicago Police Department