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Sunday, July 18, 2010

OFFICER DOWN

Officer Mike Bailey

  • A police officer coming home after an overnight shift guarding Mayor Richard Daley's home was shot and killed this morning in the South Side's Park Manor neighborhood by men apparently trying to steal his car or rob him, police said.
  • Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, whose ward includes the officer's home, identified him as Michael R. Bailey. The 62-year-old officer, a 20-year veteran due to retire in weeks, was shot at about 6:20 a.m. in the 7400 block of South Evans Avenue and pronounced dead at 6:41 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said.
  • A detective on the scene said Bailey was assigned to the Central District and had been stationed overnight at the mayor's home.
  • The incident marked the third shooting death of an off-duty Chicago police officer in the last two months. On July 7, Officer Thor Soderberg had just gotten off work and was heading to a volleyball game when he got into a struggle with a man who took his gun and shot him. On May 19, Officer Thomas Wortham IV was shot outside his parents' home in Chatham.
  • Like Wortham, Bailey was killed when assailants tried to rob him. Wortham's killers tried to steal his motorcycle, while the assailants in today's crime may have tried to steal the officer's car.
  • Relatives of the officers also came to their aid when the shootings occurred; Wortham's father, a retired Chicago police officer, came out of his home and opened fire on his son's assailants, while the son of the officer killed today tried to go after his father's assailants with one of his father's guns.
  • Reached this morning, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said that the mayor was familiar with the officer.
  • "The mayor is stunned like the rest of us -- another uniformed officer needlessly gunned down," she said.
  • Beatrice Cuello, assistant superintendent for administration for the Police Department, spoke this morning outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital before a police motorcade took the officer's body to the medical examiner's office.
  • "Words cannot express the shock, sorrow and outrage we feel at the loss of a Chicago police officer; this is the third brave officer killed since May," she said. "The job of being a police officer is incredibly rewarding each day we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. At the same time, being a Chicago police officer is incredibly dangerous and it is the risk we accept without hesitation because of the overwhelming commitment to public service."
  • She said the latest officers killed, "embodied the commitment to public service and the willingness to sacrifice their lives protecting all of us." (Click HERE to listen to an audio recording.)
  • Mark Donahue, president of the police union, called the officer's death a "great loss."
  • "The frequency which we are experiencing this is extremely disturbing, but it does go along with what's happening in our communities," Donahue said. "It's unfortunate. Times have come where we have to readjust with how we police, to bring situations like this to an end.
  • "It's time to let the police be the police and take the handcuffs off the police ... tighten up the rules and regulations in our court system. We need to do something." (Click HERE to listen to an audio recording.)
  • At the scene this morning, a black Buick with a bullet hole in the windshield. Near the car were up to 17 police evidence markers, apparently showing the locations of shell casings and what appeared to be a handgun.
  • Bailey, who had just gotten home and was still in his uniform, was cleaning the glass of his recently purchased 2010 black Buick when up to three men approached to steal his car, a source said. The officer identified himself and there was an exchange of gunfire between the officer and at least one of the men, the source said.
  • The officer was struck multiple times by gunfire, and the men fled and were being sought this morning, the source said. Three handguns, including one belonging to the officer and another believed to belong to the assailants, were found at the scene.
  • The source added that the officer's son, who was home at the time, grabbed his father's gun and ran outside after he saw his father on the ground. It was unclear if the son fired any shots at the attackers.
  • According to police communications, officers are seeking a older model tan Ford pickup truck that may have bullet holes in one door. It was last seen heading south on Evans.
  • Police are also looking for a black male in his late teens or early 20s, with a tall, slim build and very short hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans with a long brown belt and was last seen running east across a vacant lot near the scene.
  • At the scene, neighbor Ericka White, 14, said she was sitting on her porch shortly after 6 a.m. when she heard several gunshots.
  • "We just heard it. Shots went off three times, stopped and went off two more times," she said. "We ran inside the house when we heard the shooting."
  • Another neighbor, Aleiya Harrington, 14, said she saw the officer putting things in the car every morning around 6 a.m.
  • Estephanie Tatum said she received a phone call from the officer's wife at 6:11 a.m. who told Tatum that he was shot.
  • Tatum, who said the officer was godfather to her two sons, said she met him when they were classmates at Chicago State University.
  • "In college he was free spirit. When he told me he wanted to be a cop, I was shocked. I said, 'They gonna let us be a police?' "
  • She described him as a "great Zen master," saying he did Tai Chi.
  • Vincent Dove, 32, of Dolton knew Bailey's children and grew up a few houses away from the officer's home. A relative called him this morning to let him know about the shooting in his old neighborhood.
  • He said the officer served as an inspiration in the community, Dove said, adding that he graduated high school and college thanks to the officer's urging.
  • "Back in high school, I could have gone two different ways," said Dove."He'd tell me that my mom worked too hard for me not to go to school."
  • Investigators from the Independent Police Review Authority, the agency that investigates police-involved shootings, were on the scene.
Another terrible loss. May he rest in peace. God bless his family.

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