Many people host emotional funerals after their loved ones have passed on. For the wife of a police officer, however, this can sometimes be magnified by the turnout at the funeral. In this case, Erin Bauer, the wife of the late Paul Bauer, was touched immensely by the numbers of citizens of Chicago who came out on the streets to pay tribute to her husband. She described the emotion in a letter that she has shared with the public and the city of Chicago in particular.
She wrote, “Our hearts are broken in a million pieces and our lives are forever changed,” she wrote. “But that’s not the reason I am writing. I am writing to thank the people of Chicago for the outpouring of love and support at this horrendous time in our lives.”
Paul Bauer was confronting a felon in a foot chase when he died.
The traumatic incident inspired many citizens to come out to pay their respects to the man who worked for their city, trying to keep it safe.
She went on to write,
“I want to thank those of you who waited for hours in the cold to attend his wake and funeral. There were families with small children waiting in the bitter cold to say a prayer, hold a homemade sign, or wave a flag.”
The emotional letter continued, “I saw each and every one of you from the darkened window of my car,” she added, referencing the hundreds of people who stood on overpasses and along roadways to watch the funeral procession.
Bauer lost his life when he was shot six times by a suspect and convicted felon in the stairwell of the city’s Thompson Center last week. The incident escalated after officers on narcotics patrol approached the young Shomari Legghette and then a chase on foot ensued. Bauer was in his squad car nearby when he received the call.
He was supposed to be waiting to attend a meeting at City Hall, but the call for back-up interrupted him, and meant he would never go to the meeting at City Hall. Legghette has been charged with first-degree murder of a police officer and is being held without bond.
Erin Bauer wrote how she become saddened after the event, but how the city of Chicago was able to help bring her back to her feet. “One man almost stole my faith in humanity, but the City of Chicago and the rest of the nation restored it and I want to thank you for that,” Bauer wrote, to finish her letter. Finally, she added some humor to ease the situation and show her strength.
It also gave us a glimpse into the kind of man Paul Bauer was, “Paul would have been terribly upset that he inconvenienced so many people with the parking restrictions… He would have winced that the Dan Ryan closed down for the funeral procession.” She wrote, “If I wasn’t out of tears, I would have cried the entire route to the cemetery.”