Shomari Legghette, the man convicted of killing Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer in a 2018 shooting, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for his role in the crime.
Legghette was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed violence in connection with the shooting earlier this year.
In the 2018 shooting, Bauer was in downtown Chicago when he heard radio reports of a suspect fleeing from officers. Bauer saw Legghette and attempted to detain him, and after a physical altercation that resulted in both men tumbling down a stairwell, Legghette pulled out a weapon and shot Bauer six times.
Legghette’s attorney argued that his client was acting in “self-defense” in the shooting, and was not aware that Bauer was a police officer. Chicago police disputed that argument, calling Legghette an extremely dangerous man who was heavily armed and wearing body armor at the time of the shooting.
“He was wearing body armor and a bulletproof vest, carrying packets of cocaine, heroin and marijuana,” Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said. “He was armed with a long metal stake, and he was also armed with a 9MM Glock, a semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine.”
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown applauded the decision, calling Bauer a “compassionate police officer” who sacrificed his life for the city he was sworn to protect:
Legghette was convicted in March on the first degree murder charge, with the jury taking just hours to deliberate and find him guilty in the shooting.
Erin Bauer, Commander Bauer’s widow, testified at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, calling her pain “indescribable” as she explained her emotions following the shooting.
“There are no words that exist that can describe the pain and the grief you experience,” she said. “To lose someone so violently adds another layer of pain that is indescribable.”
Legghette and his attorney called for a new trial in the case, asserting again that he had acted in self-defense in the shooting.
“He sees someone in civilian clothes, somebody who’s chasing him, who grabbed him in a headlock, and pushed him down the stairs,” attorney Scott Kamin said.
Kamin also requested the minimum sentence of 45 years in prison in the case, but instead his client was sentenced to life in prison.
Grace Bauer, the commander’s daughter, said that she wishes she could go back in time “when I was in school in my uninterrupted perfect world,” and lamented the milestones that her father will miss after his death.
“He would’ve seen my milestones as I grew older. My eighth grade graduation, high school graduation, and college graduation,” she said. “He would’ve seen his retirement. He would’ve seen his 20th, 30th anniversaries with my mom.”