Five People in Custody in Shooting Death of CPD Officer

Five individuals are in custody in connection to the shooting death of 24-year-old police officer Aréanah Preston, according to a source.

On Saturday before 1:45 a.m., Preston was fatally injured in a shootout with robbers in the 8100 block of S. Blackstone Ave. in the Avalon Park neighborhood. The source also said that Preston apparently injured one of the suspects in an exchange of gunfire. The case is still under investigation.

Preston, an Illinois State University alum, was set to graduate on May 13 with a Masters of Jurisprudence from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

On Tuesday evening, a prayer vigil for Preston occurred at the 5th District Police Station, the precinct she worked at. 

Hundreds packed out the plaza of the Chicago Police Department’s 5th District for a prayer vigil honoring Preston. Vehicles lined both sides of the street abutting the police precinct. More cars filled every space, and more in a parking lot across the road reserved for a few dining establishments.

Fellow officers, firefighters, residents and dignitaries paid their respects to Preston and — by their very presence — offered comfort to her friends and family in attendance.

James Poole holds up the Thin Blue Line flag to commemorate Areanah Preston

Preston’s mother, Dionne Mhoon, echoed the sentiment that colleagues used to describe her daughter: “firecracker.”

“Firecracker was definitely the word for my baby,” Mhoon said as she addressed the assembled crowd.

She also shared small anecdotes about her daughter that spoke to her determination and persistence, like obtaining a full-ride scholarship to Illinois State University or getting an apartment her senior year.

“She was a goal-setter,” said Mhoon, “She wrote everything down that she wanted to do, and she did everything that she wanted to do.”

After thanking the police department and referring to her daughter’s police partner as her adopted son, she had a request for everyone in attendance.

“If you guys believe in the power of prayer, if you guys believe in God, keep us in your prayers. “Even when all this is gone,” she said, referring to the vigil, “Don’t stop praying for us.”

Areanah Preston's mother Dionne Mhoon

Toward the end, she acknowledged the reality of life without her daughter.

“I have a daycare, and my passion for kids is so big. And to think that I have to bury my baby,” she said.

But she also took comfort in her faith and the officers present at the vigil, not to mention the countless others who weren’t, who have offered their support, whether spoken or unspoken.

“God is good, though,” she said, “Joy will come in the morning.”

“It will because I have an excellent support team,” said Mhoon, acknowledging her husband.

“And I got this big ‘ole police family behind me.”


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