CHICAGO (CBS) — A member of the Chicago Police Department’s administration was fatally shot at the James R. Thompson Center Tuesday afternoon while confronting an armed suspect, officials said.
The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at the Illinois state government office building at Clark and Randolph in Chicago’s Loop.
Paul Bauer, commander of the 18th Police District, heard a bulletin describing a suspicious individual who had run away from tactical officers, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said. Bauer engaged with the suspect, who shot him several times, fatally injuring him.
Bauer was 53.
“Today is an extremely difficult day for the Chicago police family,” an emotional Johnson told reporters outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where Bauer was taken.
Johnson asked that residents offer their thoughts and prayers on behalf of Bauer’s family.
A suspect is in custody and a weapon has been recovered, he said.
Bauer, a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, had been attending a training activity downtown. His district is located in Chicago’s Near North Side. He had a wife and daughter, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
“(Cmdr. Bauer’s) death is a tragic reminder of the dangerous duty the men and women of our police department accept to ensure the safety of us all,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a prepared statement.
The police superintendent said the events leading up to Bauer’s death unfolded this way: A tactical team of officers on routine patrol saw a suspicious-looking individual, tried to talk with him and got into a confrontation with the suspect before he fled. The officers then relayed a description of the individual on the police radio. Bauer was in the area, noticed the suspect and intervened.
“An armed physical confrontation ensued,” Johnson said. “Cmdr Bauer was shot multiple times. Unfortunately, Cmdr. Bauer passed away.”
A Chicago Fire Department spokesperson confirmed the officer had been transported to Northwestern in very critical condition. By 3:30 p.m., various media outlets were reporting the officer had passed away.
Around 5 p.m., Bauer’s body was transported to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. The respectful procession was headed by an ambulance and included Chicago police vehicles.
One woman who was walking back to work after lunch described the chaotic scene outside the Thompson Center. It is a major hub of Chicago’s downtown because of the proximity of government office buildings.
“I was walking down the street, and I heard pop pop pop pop, and I said to the girl next to me, ‘Is that what I think it is?’ and she said, ‘Yep.’ I said ‘Oh, jeez,’” the witness said.
Officers then chased a suspect down a stairwell leading to the Pedway.
“They had him cornered, and they eventually brought him up the stairs, and put him in the squad.”
Witnesses said police officers told people to get off the streets shortly after the shooting, and began blocking off the streets and entrances to the Thompson Center.
“They actually had us locked in Walgreens,” one witness said. “They taped it off, so we couldn’t get out. Just for a minute, and then they all hopped in their cop cars, and they all went south on Clark.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner tweeted condolences to the police officer’s family and colleagues.