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4 charged with murder in killing of Chicago police Officer Aréanah Preston

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/10/2023 Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

CHICAGO - Four people have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a 24-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer, department officials announced Wednesday.

Officer Aréanah Preston, 24, was in uniform and returning home from work early Saturday when four men in a stolen vehicle pulled up and ran toward her while armed, Interim Superintendent Eric Carter said in a press conference.

Police Officer Aréanah Preston was killed in Chicago, Illinois, on May 6, 2023. © Provided by the Chicago Police Department Police Officer Aréanah Preston was killed in Chicago, Illinois, on May 6, 2023.

One man fired at Preston, who fired back, he said. The men continued to shoot, stole Preston's weapon and fled the scene.

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Another officer responding to a call of an unrelated traffic crash near the scene of the shooting later found Preston, Carter said. She was taken to a hospital, where she pronounced dead, he said.

The four people charged are Trevell Breeland, 19; Joseph Brooks, 19; Jakwon Buchanan, 18; and a 16-year-old minor. The minor will be charged as an adult, Carter said.

They are connected to multiple other alleged crimes in the hours leading up to the murder and will also be charged with armed robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and weapons violations, Carter said.

The Chicago Police Department held a vigil and balloon release for Preston on Tuesday.

"She was a beloved daughter, sister and friend who wanted to make a difference in this world. Those who knew her would tell you that’s exactly what she did," Carter said.

Incoming mayor promises 'safer Chicago'

Both outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson released statements sending their condolences to Preston's family.

"That a public servant was killed in the middle of the night underlines the fierce urgency of the public safety crisis in our city," Johnson said Saturday. "My top priority is building a better, stronger, safer Chicago where all our residents can live and work free from the threat of violence."

Officers in US being shot at higher rate than a decade ago

Earlier this year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, warned police officers are being shot at a higher rate than a decade ago, calling it a "disturbing trend."

Last year, 64 officers were fatally shot in the line of duty, according to a report from the organization.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 4 charged with murder in killing of Chicago police Officer Aréanah Preston



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