CHICAGO (CBS) — Family, friends, and colleagues of Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer were gathering to pay their respects to the slain police veteran Friday afternoon at his family church in Bridgeport.
At noon, led by a police color guard, Bauer’s casket was brought to Nativity of Our Lord Church, 653 W. 37th St. Visitation for Bauer has been scheduled for 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the church. At of 4:30 p.m., thousands of mourners were in a line that stretched for at least three blocks.
As expected, the crowd at Friday’s wake was massive.
“This whole community is just heartbroken right now,” one woman said at a vigil on Thursday night.
Bauer, 53, was gunned down Tuesday afternoon while trying to apprehend an armed suspect outside the Thompson Center.
Several buildings in the Chicago skyline were decked out in police blue Thursday night in honor of Bauer, the commander of the 18th District on the Near North Side.
Friday would have been Bauer’s 16th wedding anniversary, according to the Chicago Tribune. Instead, his family will be standing alongside his casket as friends and colleagues say goodbye.
Those who knew and loved Bauer came by his 7th grade daughter’s school Thursday night to give thanks, and honor his sacrifice for those he promised to serve and protect.
“If we all do a few more extra good things in our life, then we will be channeling him and his spirit, and he’ll live on through our actions,” one man said at the vigil.
Bauer was dressed in full uniform and sitting in his police vehicle near the Thompson Center on Tuesday afternoon, when he heard police radio reports about a suspect fleeing a street stop by tactical officers in the area, police and prosecutors said. A short time later, Bauer spotted Shomari Legghette running nearby, so he exited his vehicle and chased Legghette to the plaza outside the Thompson Center and tried to arrest him, but Legghette struggled with Bauer, and fell down the stairs, according to Foxx.
Bauer either fell down the stairs with Legghette or followed him down, and the two continued to struggle on the lower landing, where Legghette pulled out a gun and fired seven shots, hitting Bauer six times. The commander died from his injuries.
Legghette, a four-time felon, has been charged with first-degree murder, and was ordered held without bail on Thursday. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.