News >> Browse Articles >> Law Enforcement News


Family of Slain Officers Face a Unique Kind of Pain

Family of Slain Officers Face a Unique Kind of Pain

Officer Michael Bailey

Chicago Tribune via Yellowbrix

July 20, 2010

CHICAGO – To residents of Chicago, Michael Bailey and Thomas Wortham IV were public servants, Chicago police officers at opposite ends of their careers.

To their families, one was a husband and father, the other a son and brother. Both were slain in front of their family homes, in front of loved ones who, in each case, ran outside to try to save them.

On Monday, a day after Bailey’s slaying — the third Chicago police officer killed in two months — politicians and residents of the Chatham neighborhood gathered in Cole Park outside Wortham’s home as new gun legislation was signed in his name.

After the bill was signed and the dignitaries driven away, Wortham’s father, an officer himself for 32 years who ran to his son’s defense by firing at his attackers, sat down in the park to talk about the last few months.

Thomas Wortham III talked of losing his sense of safety in his own neighborhood after his son was killed. Of being a business major and knowing how key jobs are to a community. He talked about how there is a threat on any block if people don’t look out the window and get involved.

But what was harder to talk about was the moment he shares with Bailey’s son, who ran from his home early Sunday, armed with one of his father’s guns, to try to stop the people who had attacked his father.

After pausing several seconds to reflect on those moments, Wortham’s face fell slowly as his eyes welled.

“No one knows the pain,’’ he said, his voice dropping.

Bailey’s slaying, outside his Park Manor neighborhood home, was still under investigation. Several rewards totaling $55,000 had been announced. Physical evidence was being worked up, and the FBI was lending support to the inquiry.

Bailey, a 62-year-old father of two, was shot in the 7400 block of South Evans Avenue as he shined the windows of a new Buick he had purchased to celebrate retirement, which was just weeks away. He had just returned home from work and was still in uniform.

On Monday, his co-workers at the Central District remembered how a dedicated Bailey continued to put in for overtime, even as his career was winding down. Just as he stood out among neighbors on his Park Manor block, Bailey left an impression in the district.

He "illuminated through the building,’’ said Officer Eugene Goldsmith, who served with Bailey for about 15 years.

The slaying stunned a department already reeling from the loss of not only Wortham, 30, but of Officer Thor Soderberg, who just 11 days earlier was shot and killed in an Englewood neighborhood police station lot after finishing his shift.

While both Wortham and Bailey were shot in robberies, Soderberg, 43, was shot by a 24-year-old man who attacked him and took his weapon.

But the fact that all three died in gun violence was a repeated theme at the Cole Park ceremony to sign the gun legislation. The new law enhances the penalties for weapons violations.

The ceremony was planned in Wortham’s honor because one of his alleged assailants was on probation after having been convicted of a gun charge. Wortham was visiting his parents at his childhood home, across from Cole Park at 85th Street and King Drive, when he was shot as four men tried to steal his motorcycle.

It happened just a week after the officer, as president of the Cole Park advisory council, pledged to address the rising tide of violence in the area.

And while tough gun laws might be one solution, Thomas Wortham III and his wife, Carolyn, said the problem was far more complex. But like their son, they were not backing down.

“We have to be more vigilant to look out for each other,’’ Wortham said. “People have to open their doors, come out of the house.”

As a Park District field house cleared out and chattering kids ran for the playground behind her, Carolyn Wortham talked of how children need "experience and expectations.‘’ She also said the lot was going to be named in her son’s honor.

“Tommy was all about kids,‘’ she said. "And he was the quintessential child. … Skydiving. Snowmobiling. As an adult, he did all the fun things of a child. He wanted other children to have the same opportunities he had. And we’re going to try and keep his memory alive.’’

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max160_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Rest in peace, my brothers, we have the watch.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Forget the gun control legislation. Let's have violent criminal control legislation !!! Keep the animals where they belong, in a cage !!!! R.I.P. Officers Bailey, Wortham and Soderberg.

  • Copy_of_oct3_2012_max50


    about 4 years ago


    skascooter007 that was so touching.It made me want to cry.

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50


    about 4 years ago


    BUMP - all whom commented

    I was touched by this poem

    O’ Angel of mercy
    Do not take him away yet
    Tarry a while
    Wait a while
    His body is still warm
    His soul still lingering
    I have to say
    A million things
    I have to show him
    A million dreams
    O’ Angel of mercy
    Stay a while
    Wait a while
    he has yet to hug me
    he has yet to love me
    His hand on my head
    His breath on my cheek
    O’ Angel of mercy
    Tarry a while
    Wait a while
    My heart cries
    For his warmth
    My life cries
    For his strength's
    O’ Angel of mercy
    Stay a while
    Wait a while
    His immense love
    Has yet to leave
    The Family's they tore apart

    Stay a while

    RIP Chicago Finest -

  • Picture_008_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Warriors of GOD RIP.... You now take your rightful place with GOD and watch over heaven and all of us.....These POS a@@holes will be caught sooner or later....

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    RIP Michael Bailey and Thomas Wortham IV. To have both of you taken from the same family and the same department so close to each other was even more terrible than losing both of you fine officers. We'll see you again in Heaven, brothers.

    And as for the criminals who seem to be shooting cops left and right; if this happened in my neighborhood, my gun would be in my hand, and I'd be out there behind cover firing at those POS's. Their family is right. People need to be more vigilant, and people need to stand up for their community. The last thing that any criminal wants to try staring down is an angry mob, which is what I'd hope any community becomes whenever their safety or the safety of their children is threatened.

  • Th_detective_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Time to resort to "Cruel & Unusual" punishment for the cretins that commit these horrible crimes, and screw the ACLU and all of the whining Liberal morons who preach turning the other cheek and blaming society and anyone and everything rather than blaming the perpetrator and punishing him accordingly!.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    I'm sorry. As I said, not coherent.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    This is really getting bad when you a Officer still in uniform get killed right in front of their own home.Theses POS don't care about the law or respect of the law.All they want is what they want.I hope you catch this whatever you may want to call him and he gets just want is coming to him.RIP Officer William.I"m so sorry You didn't get to retire the right way for all the service of The Chicago Police Department that was suppose to be your best years..

  • Policememorial---a_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Rest in peace Officer Bailey, may God comfort the loved ones you leave behind and may He welcome you home with open arms.

  • Washington_max50


    about 4 years ago


    gun legislation, gun legislation. That's always the answer isn't it? Why don't we just make it illegal to kill, rob, burglarize, etc?! Oooh that's right, it IS illegal, and it's still happening. Maybe more legislation isn't the answer huh???

  • 2008_masonic_coin_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I offer my prayers to those who willingly place themselves in danger everyday and to the families who support them.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace Officer Michael Bailey. Prayers for your family and friends. God holds you now in Perfect Peace.

  • Mourning_badge_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace Officer Michael Bailey. My Prayers for your Family, friends and coworkers. May the perpetrator be captured quickly and receive punishment at the maximum allowed by law.

  • Draped_badge_max50


    about 4 years ago


    sahelms while I agree with your punishment. Your missing the point. These cops are being targeted not the vehicles. There is a war on the streets the media just never seems to cover it like the war overseas..

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

SE851 commented on: "David Hamson", 25 minutes ago.
LanaNJ gave a thumbs up to The Article "Family Of Immigrant Detainee Sues President Obama, Govern...", about 1 hour ago.
LanaNJ gave a thumbs up to The Article "Family Of Immigrant Detainee Sues President Obama, Govern...", about 1 hour ago.