Bauer re­mem­bered as fam­ily man


Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH DUDEK AND SAM CHARLES Staff Re­porters Con­tribut­ing: Mau­reen O’Don­nell, Mitchell Ar­men­trout

Wed­nes­day morn­ing at South Loop El­e­men­tary School, a blank sheet of pa­per cov­ered a whole wall. It wasn’t blank for long.

All day, stu­dents wrote on it, shar­ing their thoughts and feel­ings after learn­ing that one of their own — Chicago Po­lice Cmdr. Paul Bauer — had died the day be­fore in the line of duty. Bauer’s daugh­ter, Grace, is a stu­dent at the school.

By Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the sheet was cov­ered, and staff put up an­other.

Bauer was al­ways around — he’d served the Lo­cal School Coun­cil, a fi­nance com­mit­tee as­so­ci­ated with the coun­cil and, six years ago, helped or­ga­nize what is now an an­nual Daddy- Daugh­ter dance.

He was the glue of the op­er­a­tion and sorted details like print­ing fly­ers, or­der­ing food and book­ing a disc jockey, said Ja­son East­erly, a fel­low dance or­ga­nizer.

“First thing you’d see at dis­missal was him stand­ing out­side smil­ing and wait­ing for his daugh­ter to come out,” Prin­ci­pal Tara Shel­ton said Wed­nes­day. “And he was al­ways here help­ing to sup­port the school.”

The dads’ group also cre­ated two other an­nual stu­dent events: a game night at the school and an ex­cur­sion to catch a White Sox game.

And Bauer used to be part of the school’s “Kiss and Go” pa­trol, a group of par­ents who vol­un­teered to direct traf­fic so par­ents could drop off their kids in the morn­ing.

“He was a pil­lar of our school com­mu­nity,” Shel­ton said. “He was like a quiet storm… he was not a man of many words, but when you had a con­ver­sa­tion with him he left an im­pres­sion on you.”

Bauer, 53, com­man­der of the Near North Dis­trict, was shot mul- tiple times Tues­day af­ter­noon near the Thompson Cen­ter in the Loop, where he had con­fronted a man who was flee­ing other of­fi­cers. Bauer was taken to North­west­ern Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal, where he died.

Au­thor­i­ties on Wed­nes­day an­nounced mul­ti­ple charges, in­clud­ing mur­der, against Shomari Leg­ghette.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought a bou­quet of flow­ers to the fam­ily’s Bridge­port home Wed­nes­day morn­ing after meet­ing with CPD com­mand staff at depart­ment head­quar­ters.

The mayor’s en­tourage ar­rived to a neigh­bor­hood where trees had been dec­o­rated by neigh­bors with blue rib­bons and gold stars. It ac­tu­ally was Emanuel’s sec­ond visit to the home; he had stopped by late Tues­day after ar­riv­ing back in the city from Los An­ge­les.

Along South Hal­sted Street near the Bauer fam­ily home on Wed­nes­day, dozens of blue rib­bons were tied onto trees in re­mem­brance of Bauer. Flags out­side the 9th Dis­trict po­lice sta­tion at 31st and Hal­sted were low­ered to half- staff.

Ald. Pa­trick Daley Thompson ( 11th) re­mem­bered Bauer as a de­voted fam­ily man and neigh­bor­hood sta­ple.

“His wife, Erin, his daugh­ter, Grace, you al­ways saw them to­gether,” said Thompson, who went to the hospi­tal emer­gency room Tues­day after Bauer was shot.

“He was all about fam­ily. He was about com­mu­nity. He was a church­go­ing man. … I’d see him at Na­tiv­ity [ of Our Lord church],” Thompson added. “He was just a good neigh­bor and very quiet. You didn’t know how im­pres­sive of a ca­reer he had. He’d never talk about it. Very mod­est.”

Thompson said Bauer and his fam­ily had lived in their Bridge­port home at least 15 years.

After Emanuel vis­ited Wed­nes­day morn­ing, at least a half dozen others stopped by.

“It’s a close- knit com­mu­nity and in times like this we all come to­gether to sup­port one an­other,” Thompson said.

Among those who vis­ited the home was Cook County Com­mis­sioner John Daley, him­self a na­tive of Bridge­port.

Daley said Bauer’s wife grew up on the 3500 block of South Lowe — the same block that the Daley fam­ily has lived on for decades.

“The city has lost an out­stand­ing pub­lic ser­vant,” Daley said.

Bauer was as pas­sion­ate about his job as when he joined the depart­ment, said his friend, Of­fi­cer Gary Lor­den.

“He was a pil­lar of our school com­mu­nity. He was like a quiet storm… he was not a man of many words, but when you had a con­ver­sa­tion with him he left an im­pres­sion on you.” Tara Shel­ton, prin­ci­pal of South Loop El­e­men­tary School, where Chicago Po­lice Cmdr. Paul Bauer’s daugh­ter at­tends school

“When he was work­ing, he was work­ing,” Lor­den said. “He lis­tened to the ra­dio, an­swered the calls. He did what he was sup­posed to do: help out. . . he jumped in. He didn’t just watch from the side­lines.”

Friends said he em­braced the city’s cul­tural of­fer­ings and di­ver­sity. In­stead of pri­vate school, he sent his daugh­ter to South Loop El­e­men­tary school.

Though hard- work­ing, he lived a full and bal­anced life. “I can’t be­lieve how many things he got done in a day,” Lor­den said. “Vol­un­teer­ing, be­ing a com­man­der, tak­ing care of his daugh­ter.”

A grad­u­ate of St. Ig­natius Col­lege Prep, he liked to read his­tory. Just re­cently, he was read­ing the Bi­ble, “front to back,” Lor­den said. And, “He called me and told me the other day he bought a set of golf clubs. He was fi­nally go­ing to try golf.”

He liked to go for a run. Some­times he dropped in at the Weather Mark tav­ern on South Michi­gan Ave. He loved watch­ing the Black­hawks. When he was as­signed to the Mounted Pa­trol Unit, he helped keep or­der as the city cel­e­brated Black­hawks wins.

The com­man­der liked get­ting away to Florida.

Lor­den said, “He was as straight as they come. He told it like it was.”

More than 200 Near North Side res­i­dents and CPD mem­bers gath­ered Wed­nes­day night out­side Bauer’s 18th Dis­trict head­quar­ters to re­mem­ber the fallen com­man­der.

U. S. Navy Cmdr. Hec­tor Con­treas lit a can­dle and set it along­side dozens of bou­quets and stuffed an­i­mals placed out­side the po­lice sta­tion in a makeshift me­mo­rial. When Bauer led CPD’s mounted pa­trol units, he worked with Con­treas to co­or­di­nate se­cu­rity at the city’s Air and Wa­ter Show.

“The kind­est, most gen­uine guy I’ve ever met,” Con­treas said. “This kind of pain is un­called for.”

The Navy com­man­der said Bauer’s will­ing­ness to jump in on a ra­dio call — not even from his own dis­trict — il­lus­trated his strength as a leader.

“When you’re go­ing into bat­tle and your com­man­der tells you to start climb­ing up a moun­tain, you want a com­man­der who is go­ing to climb right there with you,” Con­treas said. “Paul led his guys up the moun­tain ev­ery day.”

Bauer’s wake is sched­uled for Fri­day evening, with a Satur­day morn­ing fu­neral ser­vice, both at Na­tiv­ity of Our Lord Church, 653 W. 37th St.

| AP

Chicago Po­lice of­fi­cers gather for a can­dle­light vigil for Cmdr. Paul Bauer out­side Near North Dis­trict head­quar­ters Wed­nes­day.


Chicago Po­lice Cmdr. Paul Bauer with his daugh­ter.


Chicago Po­lice of­fi­cers and com­mu­nity mem­bers gather to re­mem­ber Cmdr. Paul Bauer out­side the 18th Dis­trict po­lice sta­tion Wed­nes­day.

| AP

Todd Mark­shon ( left) and Nick Moulopou­los bring flow­ers to a me­mo­rial for Chicago Po­lice Cmdr. Paul Bauer out­side Near North Dis­trict head­quar­ters Wed­nes­day.


Blue rib­bons and gold stars in honor of CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer were tied to trees near the fam­ily’s Bridge­port home Wed­nes­day.

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