Thousands are expected to attend the funeral Saturday of slain Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, marking what officials say will begin a much-needed healing period for the city and its Police Department.
The funeral Mass is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in Bridgeport, the South Side neighborhood where Bauer lived with his wife and 13-year-old daughter.
The public was invited to attend Bauer’s wake Friday, but the funeral will be limited to law enforcement officers, family, friends and dignitaries, a police spokeswoman said. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante, Bauer’s friend since childhood, are expected to speak at the service.
An overflow area will be available for others who want to honor the 31-year Police Department veteran. City officials also have asked people wishing to show their support to wear blue and line the procession route from the church to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in south suburban Alsip.
Bauer, 53, was fatally shot Tuesday after he thrust himself into the pursuit of a four-time felon carrying a gun outside the Thompson Center, authorities said.
Shomari Legghette is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder of a peace officer, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Hundreds attended Bauer’s wake Friday at Nativity of Our Lord, honoring the highest-ranking police officer to be killed in the line of duty in decades. Both Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley paid their respects, as well as former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
Several Bridgeport businesses had photographs of Bauer in their windows, while many homes displayed blue ribbons in solidarity. At times, the line to enter the church stretched for three blocks.
Talking to reporters outside the church, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed his gratitude for the public’s support over the past week.
“The healing process starts today for CPD and the family,” he said.