CHICAGO — The U.S. Army Golden Knights are always one of the most thrilling demonstrations in the Chicago Air & Water Show.
But this year, on the show's 60th anniversary, the precision parachute team's maneuvers were also a memorial. The final jumper waved a blue line flag in honor of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, who was killed in the line of duty Feb. 13.
"It's kind of a really big deal to us," Deputy Chief Kevin Ryan said. "Paul and I watched this show many times."
Bauer was downtown Feb. 13 for training on how to handle mass shootings, police said, when he heard on the police radio that a man wanted for questioning in a recent shooting was fleeing officers. When Bauer spotted the man, he chased him into a nearby building. Bauer was fatally shot six times, according to the medical examiner's office.
The man he was chasing, a 4-time felon, is charged with first-degree murder. That case is pending.
Ryan said Saturday's display was "kind of emotional, especially when we all [have friends] that have gotten hurt or worse on this job. So to see this on such an open forum, really makes you feel good.”
He continued: "There’s a million people out here. I didn’t hear any boos. Everyone was clapping for all of the police officers.”
The Golden Knights presented the flag to Bauer’s relatives and fellow officers. Bauer's family said the commander not only loved the air and water show, but was a strong supporter of the military.
"I just don’t have the words," Bauer's sister, Pam Howell, said. "It was a wonderful experience, it was a wonderful show. The presentation was so emotional. I felt Paul was with us here today."
The Chicago Air & Water Show continues Sunday at North Avenue Beach from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, visit chicagoairandwatershow.Us