A police officer was shot and fatally wounded at 74th and South Evans early Sunday while cleaning his car and while wearing his uniform, according to police.
Officer Michael R. Bailey was off duty at the time of the shooting and had just finished a shift guarding Mayor Daley's home over night. While still in uniform, he was approached by at least two men who tried to steal his Buick. Shots were exchanged and the men fled the scene.
Bailey was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:40a.m.
Hundreds of police officers followed the ambulance carrying Officer Bailey's body to the Medical Examiner's office this morning.
Officer Bailey was a decorated 20 year veteran of the police department and was most recently assigned to the 1st District. He was due to retire in less than a month.
Mayor Richard Daley released a statement regarding Bailey’s death, saying of the slain officer, “I knew him. He was a good man. He did not deserve this."
"This is a tragic, stunning reminder of the senseless violence that stalks too many of our neighborhoods, Daley said. "Another Chicago police officer gunned down, this time just weeks before leaving a long career of protecting Chicago. It's absolutely outrageous. Our prayers go out to the family of Officer Bailey."
Bailey — still in uniform after finishing his shift — managed to fire his duty weapon during the incident, but it’s unclear whether anyone was wounded. Sources said they did not know how many people were involved in the attempted holdup.
A son inside the home heard gunshots, ran outside, saw his father was shot and retrieved another weapon believed to be owned by the officer. He ran down the street yelling “My father has been shot,” sources said, but they could not say whether he fired that weapon.
Those guns and the suspected murder weapon were recovered at the scene of the shooting. A bullet hole was found in the windshield of the officer’s car along with shell casings, sources said.
Bailey had purchased the new black Buick Regal three weeks ago as a retirement gift for himself, neighbors said. He was born on Aug. 14, 1947, and would have been forced to retire next month because the department’s mandatory retirement age is 63, authorities said.
Officer Bailey was on track for mandatory retirement, but told Central District, Capt. Joe Boisso, his supervisor on the overnight shift, he wasn’t sure about going. “He said: ‘I really don’t want to go,’’’ but in the end was looking forward to having more time with his family, according to Boisso.
Neighbors said they knew Bailey as ‘Big Mike,’ the vice president of their block club who’d stop for a cigarette outside his home after a shift.
Ryane Cook, who lives across the street from Bailey and is the president of the block club, was in bed when he heard six shots. He put on his clothes and ran outside and saw Bailey lying on the ground, in his blue police uniform with a black jacket over it.
“Mike’s daughter said ‘My daddy’s been shot,’” said Cook, who saw Bailey wasn’t breathing and tried to take his pulse.
“I told them call 911 and say ‘Officer down!’”
“Big Mike was the guy who kept this block straight,” neighbor Faia Malik, said. “As long as you stayed away from the front of his house and off the grass, you were okay.
“This neighborhood has fallen,” he added. “This is random violence — everybody knew who Big Mike was.”
This is the third officer fatality since May. Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed by a man two weeks prior. Officer Thomas Wortham was shot and killed outside his father's home by three assailants the month before that.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation offers an automatic, standing $10,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who shoots or shoots at a Chicago Police Officer.
Residents with information are urged to call 1-888-YPO-Shot.