Chicago police officer shot to death in front of Avalon Park home wanted to 'fight for justice'

$5K reward offered for information leading to arrest after CPD's Areanah Preston killed in 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue

Monday, May 8, 2023
$5K offered for information leading to arrest in CPD officer's murder
Areanah Preston was set to get her Masters of Jurisprudence before she was killed in the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue in Avalon Park.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer shot to death on Saturday as she returned from work was set to graduate with a master's degree from Loyola University Chicago in just a few days.

Areanah Preston, 24, had long set her sights on becoming a police officer, with hopes of having a positive impact in her community.

As hundreds of CPD officers marched on Sunday morning in remembrance of all the men and women in blue who have lost their lives in service to the city, the department continued to mourn and investigate the circumstances that led to the loss of Preston.

The three-year veteran was shot and killed on her front lawn as she returned home from working at CPD's 5th District early Saturday morning. She died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the medical examiner's office.

It was a job Preston, until recently, balanced with her graduate studies. But, it was, according to an interview she gave to her school newspaper as an undergrad at Illinois State University, a two-week school trip to various holocaust sites in Germany and Poland in 2019 that cemented her desire to enter the police academy.

"I know a big thing for our trip was finding voices for those who didn't have a voice. When I got back, I wanted to be an officer. I felt like I could be a person to fight for justice," Preston said in that interview.

Preston was supposed to graduate with a Masters of Jurisprudence from Loyola's School of Law on May 13. But, instead of a celebration, her family and fellow police comrades are now planning her funeral.

"This officer had a very bright future ahead of her. She was a beacon in the community," said Lisette Guillen with Case Files Chicago.

Community members came together outside of a mourning 5th District police station on Sunday evening, asking for the public's help in solving Preston's murder.

"We don't know the circumstances, but we do know we lost one and a young one," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Saturday that the city will spare no effort to locate the person or people responsible for Preston's killing.

And, while there are a lot of rumors swirling around about what may have led to if, nothing has been officially released by police as of yet.

Community activist Ja'Mal Green is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. A vigil is planned for Tuesday outside the 5th District police station.

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