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Chicago Police Officer Shot To Death Outside Her Residence On Way Home From Work

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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