The convicted felon charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a high-ranking Chicago police officer entered a plea of not guilty on Monday.
Shomari Legghette, 44, was indicted on 56 counts of murder, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and drug possession on Friday in connection with the Feb. 13 shooting death of Cmdr. Paul Bauer at the James R. Thompson Center. He was ordered held without bond last month.
On Monday, Legghette appeared before Cook County Judge Erica Reddick, who was assigned to handle the case. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson attended the arraignment before speaking with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a separate event to urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign legislation to license gun dealers - a bill passed in the wake of Bauer's fatal shooting.
Prosecutors had previously said they have more than enough evidence to prove Legghette killed Bauer, alleging that at the time of his arrest, the four-time convicted felon was wearing body armor and had a semi-automatic handgun with a 30-round magazine in his pocket.
Ballistic tests also revealed gun residue on Legghette's right hand and jacket pocket, officials said, indicating that he had fired a weapon. Prosecutors also said that three witnesses identified Legghette as the shooting suspect in a lineup.
Authorities described Legghette as a “career criminal,” with Johnson saying that in his case, “some people don’t deserve to walk the streets of Chicago.”
Legghette had previously been charged with possession of a controlled substance, armed robbery and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number as far back as 1996, court records obtained by NBC 5 Investigates show.
In July 1999, Legghette was sentenced to 16 years in prison for armed robbery and released in 2005. He was also charged in 2007 with unlawful use of body armor, unlawful use of a weapon and drug possession, police said, facing more time behind bars.
His last arrest was in 2015, when he was sentenced to two years in prison on heroin charges, but was released in summer 2016.
Chicago police said Legghette “executed” 53-year-old Bauer during a confrontation in a stairwell of the building in Chicago’s Loop, shooting the commander six times.
Officers investigating narcotics sales first saw Legghette “acting suspiciously” on Lower Wacker Drive that afternoon, according to Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan.
Authorities said an officer approached Legghette, who took off running toward the Thompson Center. The officers sent out a suspect description over police radio, which Bauer overheard while in the area for a training seminar, according to police.
Bauer then pursued Legghette, who officials said can be seen on video “pulling” on Bauer before they fall down the stairs. Police said Legghette fired multiple shots at Bauer, who was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
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. He is survived by his wife Erin and 13-year-old daughter Grace.
Authorities said Bauer did not appear to have drawn his weapon and no officers fired shots. Legghette fired his gun seven times and had crack, heroin and cash on him, according to police.