Chicago, IL – A 24-year-old Chicago police officer was gunned down outside her home in the Avalon Park neighborhood after she finished up her shift early Saturday morning.
The attack occurred in the 8011-block of South Blackstone Avenue at approximately 1:45 a.m. on May 6, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago police said they responded to the location on the city’s South Side after receiving “shot spotter” notifications.
A responding officer arrived to find 24-year-old Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Sources said the officer’s duty weapon was stolen after she was shot, according to WFLD.
The shooter had fled the scene prior to officers’ arrival and remained on the loose early Monday morning.
“Emergency! Emergency!” an officer said over the radio shortly after the attack, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Eighty-first and Blackstone – we got a person shot! It’s an off-duty po! Get an ambulance here now!”
“Squad, it’s not looking good — get an ambulance here now!” the officer added a moment later.
He ultimately rushed Officer Preston to University of Chicago Medicine on his own, WFLD reported.
“The officer picked her up, put her in the back of his car, and immediately brought her to U of C hospital where she succumbed to her injuries early this morning,” CPD Interim Police Superintendent Eric Carter confirmed.
24-year-old Areanah Preston, a Chicago police officer who was off-duty, was shot to death on Saturday near her home on the South Side on her way home from work during a stick-up that was connected to another robbery in the area. The silence over her murder is deafening. pic.twitter.com/phCuWorzxe
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 7, 2023
The medical examiner’s office concluded on Sunday she died from multiple gunshot wounds and her death was ruled a homicide, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) said Officer Preston had just finished up her shift in the Calumet District when the fatal attack occurred.
She served the CPD for three years.
Our hearts are broken once again.The #ChicagoPolice Dept. and the city of Chicago tragically lost one of our own. Our officer was fatally shot while returning home from her tour of duty in @ChicagoCAPS05 earlier this morning. Please remember her and her family in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/fTwqDipkDn
— Tom Ahern (@TomAhernCPD) May 6, 2023
A motive for the deadly shooting has not been released and no suspects were immediately identified, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officer Preston recently earned a Masters of Jurisprudence from Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law and would have celebrated her graduation on May 13, according to WLS.
She also held a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement administration from Illinois State University (ISU), the Chicago Tribune reported.
Her grandfather, whom she called “Pa Pa,” was preparing to travel to Chicago for the graduation festivities when he received word of his granddaughter’s murder.
“She was intelligent, a happy person… she was all of that and more,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “I can’t speak about her without breaking up.”
Media blackout. This beautiful 24 year-old college grad wanted to make a difference. Areanah Preston became a police officer to demonstrate how law enforcement can help make communities better. Last night was gunned down in Chicago while off duty. The press ignored her story.… pic.twitter.com/sKIvOPon37
— Colette Harrington (@sweetcarolinatv) May 7, 2023
Former ISU professor and criminal justice scientist Charles Bell said Officer Preston was someone who understood “the intimate details about what is happening in the community, some of the challenges that are impacting policing and mass incarceration,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“She was very vocal about that and sharing it with the class and deeply passionate about making a difference,” Bell said. “If you’re interested in making a difference like Areanah was, you’re interested in learning where [crime] starts. And she was really interested in making a difference in the community, going back to Chicago, boots on the ground, helping people.”
The future Chicago cop decided during a two-week trip to Holocaust sites in Poland and Germany that she wanted to become a law enforcement officer, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The trip focused on studying genocide through a criminology lens, according to the paper.
“I know a big thing for our trip was finding voices for those who didn’t have a voice,” Officer Preston said during an interview in 2021, according to the Chicago Tribune. “When I got back, I wanted to be an officer. I felt like I could be a person to fight for justice.”
This is Chicago PD Officer Areanah Preston.
She was 24 and a three year veteran of CPD.
PO Preston was to graduate from Loyola Chicago next week with her Masters in Criminology.
Areanah was shot dead at 1:40 AM this morning on Chicago’s lawless South Side, off duty, the… pic.twitter.com/kcYJfrore9
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) May 7, 2023
Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said he was devastated to learn of the young officer’s murder.
“I’m outraged and devastated by this horrific violence against a public servant, and I will do everything I can to support her family and the Chicago Police Department through this traumatic time,” Johnson said in a statement late Saturday morning, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I pray that her killer is apprehended quickly so that justice may be served.”