Chicago isn’t safe. Not even police officers coming home from the end of their shift are safe from thugs running roughshod over the community. When police officers armed with guns aren’t safe, how can the little people without guns be safe?
Chicago Police Officer Areaneah Preston had her whole life ahead of her. 24 years old, she was set to graduate from Loyola in a week with a Master’s Degree in Child and Family Law. The young woman would make a positive difference in the world. She would make her mom and dad proud grandparents and lead a productive life as either a police officer or perhaps eventually as an attorney.
“Trying to make a chance on this Earth” failed as an armed robber tried to stick her up as she arrived home after her shirt with CPD at about 1:40a.m. Sadly, it looks as though she was shot and it took 30 minutes for an officer to check out the shots fired call when a car found her body outside her residence.
CHICAGO — Officials have released no new details about what they believe led up to the fatal shooting of a young Chicago police officer as she returned home from work early Saturday.
Among the many questions that will be asked in the days ahead is this: Why did it take the Chicago Police Department 30 minutes to respond and locate the officer after a ShotSpotter registered shots fired at the exact address where she was found lying in a yard?
Here’s the latest in the tragic death of Officer Areanah Preston, 24, who joined CPD three years ago and had just finished working her shift in a Far South Side police district.
Police have not publicly spoken about what they think happened as Preston arrived home in the 8100 block of South Blackstone around 1:42 a.m.
The Sun-Times reported that Preston was shot during a robbery, and her gun was taken.
In fact, CPD recently warned residents in the local police districts about three armed robberies that occurred late on April 28. Those robberies involved a group of masked and armed men who targeted victims as they exited their vehicles.
Ring surveillance video of one of the April 28 robberies began circulating online Saturday with false claims that it showed the moments before Preston was attacked.
A ShotSpotter recording of the gunfire, provided to CWBChicago by a source, appears to have captured three individual gunshots in quick succession followed by a short round of automatic fire.
Late Saturday afternoon, Chicago police located the getaway car that investigators had linked to Preston’s murder. The red Kia, stolen from the 4700 block of South Indiana, was found burned in the 7200 block of South Eberhart, according to a law enforcement source.
CPD radio transmissions show that police first learned of gunfire at the address where Preston was killed 30 minutes before officers found her. What happened? That’s something city leaders will need to answer.
But here’s what the radio activity reveals:
At 1:09 Saturday morning, a police dispatcher went on air to read off a list of pending assignments in the South Chicago (4th) District. He read off 26 calls, some hours old, waiting for officers to handle.
Later, at 1:43 a.m., an officer in a neighboring district radioed that they heard “like a burst” of gunfire to their south.
Moments after that, an officer in the 4th District came on the air. He said a ShotSpotter gunfire detector registered nine shots fired at the exact address where Preston was later found. The dispatcher repeated the information, but no officers were assigned to investigate the ShotSpotter information.
Three minutes later, an officer asked if any calls had been received about a person who had been shot. None had, the dispatcher confirmed.
Then, at 2:02 a.m., the dispatcher reported that an Apple Watch had alerted to a traffic accident at the address right next door to the one that ShotSpotter had provided. Apple Watches can be set to call for help if they detect movement that they believe resembles a car crash. But it can misinterpret other actions, such as falling down, as a crash, according to some owners we spoke with.
With that information, the dispatcher assigned the Apple Watch call to a patrol car and advised them of the ShotSpotter information, too. An officer advised that they were on their way but were not close by.
Finally, at 2:15 a.m., the assigned officer jumped on the radio to declare an emergency: an off-duty officer had been shot at the Blackstone location.