Chicago Police Commander. Paul Bauer Gunned Down by Felon in Body Armor

(Sun Times Wire) The man suspected of killing an off-duty Chicago Police commander Tuesday in the Thompson Center was wearing body armor and has a long felony record, including a conviction for armed robbery, according to court records and police sources.

Paul Bauer, the commander of the Near North District, was shot multiple times at about 2 p.m. and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Earlier in the day, he was participating in “active shooter” training for members of the Chicago Police exempt ranks at the fire department’s academy south of the Loop, said Larry Langford, a spokesman for the fire department.

“Take the time to spend with your family and friends and keep Commander Bauer’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in an emailed message to rank-and-file officers. “Any loss of life in this city is tragic, but today’s different.”

Just before the shooting, Central District tactical officers had spotted a suspicious man near State and Wacker, Johnson said in his email.

The man ran when the officers tried to do a “street stop” to interview him. He was wearing a long black coat with a fur collar.

Bauer, 53, was near the Thompson Center when he heard the officers put out a description of the suspect on his radio.

“The commander encountered the offender and a confrontation ensued,” Johnson said in his email.

“We have a 10-1,” the police radio crackled, referring to an officer in peril. “We have an off-duty shot.”

The shooter is in custody and the weapon was recovered, according to Johnson, who was visibly upset during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The 44-year-old suspect’s felony record goes back to 1998, when he was charged with armed robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

In 2007, the man was charged with being a felon in possession of body armor, possession of a defaced firearm and possession of heroin. He got three years in prison on the gun charge, records show.

In 2011, he was charged with resisting an officer and battery. He was convicted of battery and given 30 days of community service, records show.

Finally, the suspect was convicted of drug possession in 2014 and received a two-year prison term.

The Sun-Times isn’t naming the man, who lives on the South Side, because he isn’t charged in Bauer’s death.

In addition to the Near North District, also known as the 18th District, Bauer had been the commander of the department’s mounted patrol unit.

Bauer was in charge of the mounted unit in 2013 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Officers on 30 horses kept control of the streets in Wrigleyville after people broke down police barricades.

He helped with the Horses of Honor project, in which 6-foot-tall, 6-foot-long horse statues were displayed downtown. Each horse, decorated by local artists, carried a minimum donation of $2,500 for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which assists the families of fallen and injured officers.

All but one of the horses was named after officers who died.

Three members of the mounted unit were on horseback outside the Northwestern emergency room in honor of Bauer.

Bauer, who lived in Bridgeport with his wife and 13-year-old daughter, is the first Chicago Police officer shot to death on or off duty since the 2011 slaying of Officer Clifton Lewis. Bauer is among 13 Chicago Police officers shot to death since 1998. Dept. Supt. James Riordan was the last high-ranking member of the department to be shot to death. He was killed in 1981 while he was off-duty. Continue Reading

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