As the city of Chicago grapples with the fatal shooting of a high-ranking police officer, the slain commander's department vowed to step up and support the wife and young daughter he left behind.
Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, was shot and killed while confronting an armed offender at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop Tuesday afternoon, according to police. Bauer was "senselessly murdered" while assisting a tactical team in "apprehending a suspicious person" at the downtown building, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Tuesday.
A 31-year veteran of the force, Bauer lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood and had led the 18th District on the city's Near North Side for the last two years. The loss has resonated across Chicago, leaving a deep void in the city he swore to serve and protect.
Bauer is survived by his wife, Erin, and 13-year-old daughter Grace. Community members in mourning remembered him as a leader who adored his loved ones - a family that the Chicago Police Department promised to care for after his death.
"I want you all to know how important it is for us, not just the police department but as a city, that we support his family, because they're leaning on us now," a visibly emotional Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Tuesday night.
"His family paid a huge debt to keep the citizens of this city safe and we owe them," he continued. "We owe them. So moving forward, let's not forget the legacy of Cmdr. Paul Bauer."
To that end, Guglielmi tweeted Tuesday night that Johnson, in addressing officers in Bauer's district, pledged to care for their fallen colleague's family. Chicago police officers "will step in for Paul & take his young daughter to school from here on in," Guglielmi tweeted.
"We owe him and his family to walk as many tomorrow days with them by their side, so that they know that we are the family of Chicago and that we love him and we love his courage on behalf of all of us, something he gave every day for 31 years," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said outside the 18th District station Tuesday night, asking all Chicagoans to keep his wife and daughter in their prayers.
"I was with Erin and Grace at their home, and as I said there and to the members here, the rank-and-file, I ask everybody to take a moment to hug your loved ones: your child, your partner, your husband, your wife," Emanuel said. "We are reminded of how fragile life can be."
Emanuel remembered Bauer as "an individual defined by his decency and his sense of duty," a man who "loved his family" and lived selflessly.
Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz, who said in a statement that the two began their law enforcement careers together in 1986, echoed that sentiment, calling Bauer "an exceptional leader, friend and dedicated police officer."
"He was most proud, however, of being a husband to Erin and father to Grace," Schmitz added, emphasizing what so many others who knew Bauer believed: his family came first. "The ISP will never forget his sacrifice or the type of person he was."
Calling Bauer's death a "gut punch to the city," Emanuel also requested that residents reach out to officers in the community to share their condolences and gratitude.
"Take a moment of time, remember what they do for us and find a place and a time to thank them," Emanuel said.