A Chicago police commander was shot fatally Tuesday afternoon at the Thompson Center downtown while he was off-duty helping other officers, authorities said.
Cmdr. Paul Bauer of the 18th District was shot by a man while assisting a tactical team that was chasing a man who had run away from them after acting suspiciously.
Bauer, 53, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The shooter is in custody and the weapon has been recovered, Supt. Eddie Johnson said.
The suspect, who hasn't been charged so far in Bauer's death, was wearing body armor and has a long felony record, including a conviction for armed robbery, according to court records and police sources.
Bauer is the first Chicago police officer shot to death on or off duty since the 2011 slaying of Officer Clifton Lewis. Bauer is among 13 Chicago police officers shot to death since 1998.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on a business trip to Los Angeles when the fatal shooting occurred.
A statement released by the mayor's office quoted Emanuel as saying that the "hearts of every Chicagoan are heavy as we mourn the loss" of a popular district commander who "stood for the highest ideals" of a Chicago Police Department sworn to serve and protect the people of Chicago.
"His death is a tragic reminder of the dangerous duty the men and women of our police department accept to ensure the safety of us all," the mayor was quoted as saying.
Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham, in a statement, said, "The FOP and its members mourn the senseless and tragic loss of Commander Bauer and ask for prayers for him and his family."
Bauer was the commander of the Near North District.
He was shot several times while helping his fellow officers, said Johnson, who was visibly upset at a Tuesday afternoon news conference outside Northwestern.
Bauer was previously the commander of the department's mounted patrol unit.
He was in charge of the mounted unit in 2013 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Officers on 30 horses kept control of the streets in Wrigleyville after people broke down police barricades.
Bauer was involved with the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which assists the families of fallen and injured officers.
• For more coverage, go to chicago.suntimes.com.