Chicago, IL – The widow of slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer issued an emotional letter on Tuesday, thanking the city for its support in the wake of her husband’s murder.
Commander Bauer, a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), was fatally shot in the line of duty during a confrontation in a stairwell of the state of Illinois government building on Feb. 13.
“I want you to know that I saw each and every one of you who stopped on the side of the road to salute as the hearse went by,” Erin Bauer wrote to the citizens of Chicago. “I saw the blue blanket draped over the fence along the expressway and the large banners with Paul’s pictures … I saw people of every color taking time out of their day, not only to pay respects to Paul, but to the entire Chicago Police Department.”
“There were young and old … There were families with small children waiting in the bitter cold to say a prayer, hold a homemade sign or wave a flag … The Chicago Fire Department was there with their trucks, while so many of its men and women saluted as we drove by,” the commander’s widow wrote. “If I wasn’t out of tears, I would have cried the entire route to the cemetery.”
As she shared her gratitude, Erin described how she thought her husband might have felt about being the focus of the city’s attention.
“Paul would have been terribly upset that he inconvenienced so many people with the parking restrictions in our beloved Bridgeport,” she explained. “He would have winced at the thought that the Dan Ryan closed down for the funeral procession. He never wanted to be in the spot light. He never thought of himself, only others.”
She also thanked the community for paying respects to the entire CPD.
“They are the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line each day to protect people they don’t even know,” Erin wrote.
Despite her grief, Commander Bauer’s wife credited the city for helping her to see positivity in the world.
“Needless to say, our hearts are broken in a million pieces and our lives are forever changed,” she wrote. “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.”
“Grace and I are humbled, as Paul would be,” her letter said.