On a cold February day, not unlike Feb. 13 two years ago, hundreds of Chicago police officers came to the bunting draped 18th District with a sense of duty.
They came to remember fallen Commander Paul Bauer, who was killed in the line of duty chasing a fleeing suspect.
“Two years ago today, the world Grace and I knew came crashing down around us when Paul was killed,” Bauer’s wife Erin told the group. “There are days it was like yesterday…that’s how fresh the pain still is.”
It is still fresh for his police family too. They stood in the snow and the wind to listen to the radio all call that went out this afternoon to the whole department remembering his sacrifice and ending with the words “rest well…we have it from here.”
After the current commander, Dan O’Shea, called for a bell to ring 29 times, the same as Bauer’s badge number, Mayor Lori Lightfoot remembered him as a Bridgeporter who bought a snowblower the week before he was killed.
“Commander Bauer did not buy that snowblower to clear his own driveway," she said. “He bought it to help his neighbors…he cleared the snow for an entire Bridgeport block.”
Police Chaplain Fr. Dan Brandt, who was the Pastor of Bauer’s church before joining the department full time, talked about his friend’s place in history.
“The name of Commander Bauer’s killer will be forgotten in no time, if it hasn’t already, but he, we will never forget,” Brandt said. “He is a real hero and a piece of the fabric of the city of Chicago.”
Shakespeare District Commander Melvin Roman was a captain in the 18th two years ago.
“These officers, I asked them to help keep me going and keep moving forward and doing everything that we needed to do because we still had a job to do,” he said.
On Thursday, police unveiled a new fitness center inside the 18th District station named in Bauer’s honor.
Bauer’s alleged assailant, 46-year-old Shomari Legghette is scheduled to go on trial later in February.
Earlier this week, Bauer's widow filed suit along with the Brady Center against the Wisconsin-based online marketplace that she says enabled that previously convicted felon to buy the murder weapon: a 9 mm Glock pistol.