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Chicago police officer murdered on her own lawn

By Ben Marquis
|
May 9, 2023

A young female police officer in Chicago, Illinois, was murdered during an attempted robbery in front of her own home over the weekend.

Arrests have been made and multiple suspects are now in custody in relation to the shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston, 24, according to the Daily Mail.

Preston had just returned home around 1:45 a.m. on Saturday morning after her shift had finished when the incident occurred, and the Chicago Police Department formally declared her death to have been "in the line of duty."

Fatal Incident Caught on Surveillance Camera

Local ABC affiliate WLS reported that the fatal incident was captured by nearby surveillance cameras, and that footage showed that Preston had attempted to fight back against the armed robbers who shot her and left her for dead on her own front lawn.

According to CPD Sgt. Vivian Williams, "Officer Preston was able to get off a couple of rounds. She fought. She was a fighter. She fought to be a good person. She fought to do things right. She fought to help this community. She gave her all."

The surveillance camera footage reportedly shows Preston arriving at her home and parking her car on the street before exiting the vehicle to cross the road toward the house she shared with members of her family.

It was at that point that another vehicle suddenly pulled up and stopped long enough for at least one individual to get out before speeding off. A confrontation that ended with gunfire then ensued and Preston was left lying in the yard with multiple gunshot wounds.

"I shouldn't be standing here talking about a 24-year-old lady who did everything right," Williams added. "Then someone who maybe didn't have opportunities or weren't parented correctly. I don't know what brought that to that point. But there's gotta be something different -- there's gotta be a change."

The account provided by Sgt. Williams aligns with what the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police had said Sunday about Preston's death, as they stated in a Facebook post, "Though off-duty, Officer Areanah Preston was killed while trying to defend herself from armed individuals in an apparent robbery. She died taking police action. We will prepare to honor her fully and properly."

Five Suspects Taken Into Custody in Connection to Murder

Local Fox affiliate WFLD reported on Monday that four suspects in the murder of Preston who range in age from 16-18 were taken into custody following an hours-long armed standoff with the CPD SWAT team late Sunday night.

According to local CBS affiliate WBBM-TV, another suspect was also taken into custody separately on Sunday not far from the armed standoff after the Uber car he was riding in was stopped at gunpoint by police who had been tailing the suspect.

All of the suspects are believed to be linked to at least one other armed robbery, and possibly more, and Chicago Police found a burned-out stolen vehicle that they also believe is connected to the attempted robbery and murder of Officer Preston.

Outgoing and Incoming Mayors Lament Murder of CPD Officer

Fox News reported that Preston, a three-year veteran of the CPD, had previously graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and was set to graduate next week with a master's degree in criminology from Loyola University in Chicago.

Outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the fatal incident was "awful and tragic" and that she had ordered the CPD to "spare no expense" in tracking down the murder suspects.

"There are some who say that our police officers are not worthy of our respect," Lightfoot told reporters. "There are some who say we should not be supporting and funding our police department. I would urge any person who holds that view to reflect on moments like this."

Likewise, WBBM-TV reported that Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said in a statement, "I’m outraged and devastated by this horrific violence against a public servant and will do everything to support the family and CPD during this traumatic time."

All of the outlets noted that despite the several suspects having been arrested over the weekend in connection with Preston's death, no charges in relation to that case have been filed as of yet.