A bouquet of flowers rested at the doorway of the Near North Side police station and a man dropped off coffee and donuts for the officers who lost their commander in the line of duty.
They joined the officers for roll call before the midnight shift to offer words of condolences and support following the killing of Cmdr. Paul Bauer, who led the high-profile district before he was gunned down in the Loop earlier Tuesday while pursuing a suspect.
Bauer, 53, is a married father of a 13-year-old daughter and the first Chicago cop shot and killed since 2011.
Addressing media after his visit inside the station at 1160 N. Larrabee Ave., Emanuel was soft spoken and somber as he talked about Bauer’s selflessness.
“He’ an individual defined by his decency and his sense of duty. He loved his family, he loved the police department, he loved the neighborhood of Bridgeport and he loved the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said. “I ask each of us, in the days ahead, if you see Chicago’s officers doing their job, reach out to them as a member of your family. Thank them.”
Emanuel learned of Bauer’s death as he prepared to board a return flight to Chicago during a trip to Los Angeles. Emanuel said he talked with Bauer’s wife and daughter at their Bridgeport home. He urged Chicagoans to keep the family in their prayers.
“This is like a gut punch to the police department, its a gut punch to the city,” Emanuel said. “I ask you to take a moment of time to remember what they (police officers) do for us.”
Bauer, a 31-year department veteran, ascended in 2016 to lead the Near North District, which deploys about 360 officers.
An advocate for stiffer sentencing of Chicago’s repeat criminal offenders, Bauer was shot by a four-time felon who was trying to evade tactical police in the busy downtown area. Bauer was there for a training and meetings but heard the call of a suspect who ran away and jumped in to assist.
Outside the Near North station, Johnson said Bauer’s legacy should not be forgotten. Police officers will help care for Bauer’s family and take his daughter to school in his absence, said Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the department.
“He gave his life for the protection of this city. It just goes to show you day in and day out, police officers run to trouble and not away from it,” Johnson said.
Deidre Brewster, who lives within the Near North district, was among several residents who came by the station to pay their respects.
Brewster said she is involved with the Near North Unity Program and worked with Bauer in that capacity. He happily participated in a “Coffee with the Commander” event, Brewster recalled.
“He was one of the good guys. He was open, he was honest, he was fair,” Brewster said. “He believed in justice … he had a sincere spirit.”
Earlier in the day, 13-year-old Anthony Goulet and his mother walked to the station from their home nearby.
Anthony, who participates in the Near North Unity Program, said he met Bauer recently an an awards ceremony put on by the group.
“He was nice and caring and he wanted me to make sure I had my good grades,” Anthony recalled.