A Chicago police commander who had complained about the difficulty of keeping violent criminals off the streets was fatally shot Tuesday while pursuing a suspect in the Loop in a rare outburst of daytime gun violence downtown.
Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, was shot to death at the Thompson Center after chasing a man fleeing from tactical officers who tried to stop him, police officials said. Bauer, a 31-year-veteran who had been in the area for training and had a meeting with aldermen scheduled later, confronted the man, according to police officials and other sources. He opened fire, hitting the commander multiple times, police said.
Officers apprehended a suspect who multiple sources identified as a 44-year-old four-time felon and former prison inmate with an arrest record dating to at least 1994. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 1998 for robbery, court records show. The Tribune is not identifying him because he had not been charged as of Tuesday evening.
Officers recovered a gun from the man, who was wearing a protective vest, according to a source.
Bauer, a married father of a 13-year-old daughter, is the first Chicago cop shot and killed since 2011, and he is the highest-ranking officer killed in decades.
The incident briefly pitched the heart of Chicago’s business and governmental district into turmoil as emergency vehicles screamed down streets, office workers looked on from sidewalks on a cold, gray day and police cordoned off sections of the downtown area that includes the engines of state, city and county government. Crestfallen officers grouped outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital before Superintendent Eddie Johnson, appearing to choke back tears, announced that Bauer had died.
Shortly after that, officers on foot and horseback saluted as a procession of dozens of police vehicles pulled away from the hospital to accompany the ambulance on its way…