Defense Attorney Tells Jury Police Commander's Murder Was His Own Fault
Chicago, IL – The attorney for the man who murdered Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer claimed on the first day of trial that his client shot the high-ranking police official six times in self-defense.
"It's a tragedy... but Commander Bauer brought it upon himself," defense attorney Scott Kamin said, according to WMAQ.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2019 when 1st District tactical officers saw Shomari Legghette going to the bathroom in public.
The officers tried to approach Legghette but he fled.
“Tactical officers put a description over the radio. Commander Paul Bauer – the 18th District – was in the vicinity and he heard the radio transmission,” then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a press conference the day of the murder.
Within a minute, an officer – now assumed to be Commander Bauer – radioed the dispatcher that he had spotted the man.
He told a dispatcher he was near Clark and Lake Streets, “State of Illinois building towards City Hall,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
The newspaper reported that was the officer’s last transmission.
The dispatcher called the officer repeatedly for several minutes, but got no reply.
Then the tactical officer who had radioed the initial description came over the radio saying “Don’t anybody get hurt. We just wanted to do a street stop on him and he took off on me. But he was in the area where we’ve had a lot of narcotics sales and a shooting on Saturday.”
"I understand, but somebody else is following him and we want to make sure we get him help,” the dispatcher replied.
Then another officer radioed the dispatcher to say they’d found the suspect, and had him in custody. He told dispatch that they found a gun on the suspect.
“We have a person shot in the stairwell. Possibly related to the guy we were chasing at the State of Illinois building,” the tactical officer radioed to the dispatcher.
“OK, is that an off-duty PO [police officer]?” the dispatcher asked.
“There’s a radio laying next to him. Oh s--t. Squad, I need somebody over here ASAP. It is,” the tactical officer confirmed.
“We have a 10-1, we have an off-duty shot. We have units on the scene,” the dispatcher said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Commander Bauer, 53, was a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
“He observed the offender, and engaged them, and physical confrontation – armed physical confrontation – ensued,” the superintendent told reporters while obviously struggling to keep his composure. “Commander Bauer was shot multiple times. Unfortunately, Commander Bauer passed away.” composure.
Commander Bauer was pronounced dead at Northwestern Regional Hospital.
His killer’s attorney argued in court that his client didn’t know the man he was running from that day was a police officer, WMAQ reported.
Kamin said his client was “trying to sell drugs” when police initially approached him and that’s was why he ran.
He argued Commander Bauer cornered Legghette in the stairwell and his client couldn’t see the officer’s uniform, WMAQ reported.
However, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Risa Lanier said Legghette was armed and wearing body armor at the time of the encounter.
"He was wearing body armor and a bulletproof vest, carrying packets of cocaine, heroin and marijuana," Lanier said. "He was armed with a long metal stake. He was also armed with a 9MM Glock, a semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine."
The prosecutor called Commander Bauer’s murder “an execution,” WMAQ reported.
"He knew that Paul Bauer was a police officer... a police officer attempting to detain him, and he killed him for it," Lanier said.
Legghette’s attorney argued his client was wearing his normal work gear the day he murdered Commander Bauer.
"He gets shot at a lot," he argued. "He wears body armor to protect himself. It's that simple."
Legghette is expected to take the stand in his own defense during the trial that is likely to last less than two weeks, according to WMAQ.