Friends remember CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer a year after his death

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wednesday marks one year since Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed outside of the Thompson Center.

Three of his childhood friends gathered to share their memories of the man who called them "brothers."

It's been decades since these guys were here together. It's now Talman Elementary but it was the parish school of St. Clare of Montefalco when they walked the halls, and even snuck into the ceiling to sign their names on a beam.

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The memories came flooding back for Steve Matteo, John Escalante and Dan Kiehn; flashes of silly school days and the lasting friendships, as well as the kid who brought them together and kept them together as the years rolled on: Paul Bauer.

"He could give a one liner, a zinger, and then he would have a smirk and know you had no comeback," recalled Escalante.

"He was never the center of attention but he always got in his two cents," said Kiehn.

"He had a great laugh. He'd always slap his knee," Matteo remembered.

Bauer was killed in the line of duty on February 13, 2018. His lifelong friends reminisced in what had been their 5th grade classroom.

"It seems like we've known him my whole life," Matteo said. "He was a brother who was part of my family."

"He worried more about other people than he worried about himself, he really did," said Escalante. "He always wanted to make sure everything was okay with everybody else."

"He's always here, but I miss the guy that's not sitting here," said Kiehn.

"February 13th will never be just February 13th again," Escalante agreed.

"He wasn't just a policeman, he was a great friend and a son and a brother," Matteo said.

"He challenges me every day to be a better dad, a better husband. Just a better person in general," Kiehn said.

"It was a tragic thing that happened and, gosh, I miss him, but I'm just grateful to have known him," said Matteo.

These men said Bauer was the glue that held them together as life got busy with families and careers. They honor his memory by staying connected and consider themselves brothers.

Bauer did not actually have any brothers, but he is survived by three sisters.
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