By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS)– Opening statements were held Tuesday in the trial of Shomari Legghette, the man accused of murdering Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer two years ago.

Prosecutor call it a clear cut case. But as CBS’2 Jim Williams reported, the defense argues Legghette acted in self-defense.

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Even in a city with high levels of gun violence, the shooting at the Thompson Center downtown on Feb. 13, 2018, was shocking and rare. It took the life of a high-profile police officer.

Bauer, commander of the Near North (18th) District, was killed in the stairwell of the state office building.

Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer (Credit: Chicago Police)

Prosecutors call Legghette the murderer.

“The evidence will prove to you that when the defendant executed Commander Bauer, he did so for no reason other than his own desperate attempts to avoid the police,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said in her opening argument.

Police said they saw Legghette urinating on Lower Wacker Drive, and when they approached him, he took off – armed to the teeth and carrying drugs.

“At that time, he was wearing body armor, a bulletproof vest, carrying packets of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana,” Lanier said. “He was armed with a long metal stake; a heavy object, and he was also armed with 9mm Glock.”

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Bauer heard the call on his police radio and saw Legghette, and tried to stop him.

“The defendant – he knew that Paul Bauer was a police officer,” Lanier said. “He knew that Commander Bauer was a police officer attempting arrest him or detain him and he killed him for it.”

But Legghette’s attorney, Scott Kamin, insisted that no, Legghette did not know Bauer was a police officer.

“He didn’t have his uniform showing. He didn’t have his badge showing. He didn’t have anything indicating he was a cop,” Kamin said.

Kamin called Legghette a street hustler and drug dealer, who did – in his words ‘ “dangerous stuff,” feared for his life, and acted in a self-defense when he fired multiple shots at Bauer – who Kamin said had put Legghette headlock.

“It’s a tragedy,” Kamin said. “But actually, Commander Bauer brought it on himself.”

Everyone could hear the gasp after that argument.

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The courtroom was packed with police officers, other supporters of the Bauer and the commander’s widow, Erin.