CHICAGO (CBS) – A procession was held for a Chicago police officer killed after being shot on the city's South Side Saturday morning.
The officer, identified as 24-year-old Areanah Preston by the Medical Examiner's Office, was shot around 1:42 a.m. in the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue in the Avalon Park neighborhood.
As CBS 2's Asal Rezaei reported, Interim CPD Supt. Eric Carter in a news conference confirmed the officer of three years just completed her shift in the 5th District on the Far South Side and was heading home at the time of the shooting.
Police aren't releasing a lot of information but say their officers were checking out a report of shots fired when they found Preston. She'd been shot multiple times just yards from her home.
An arriving officer rendered aid, placed her into the back of a squad car, and took her to the University of Chicago Medical Center.
After the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save her life, a police source tells CBS 2 she died from multiple gunshot wounds above the breast.
Information surrounding what led to the shooting is unknown.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked for family and neighbors to be given privacy and allow them time to grieve.
"It's unfortunate that we're standing here again today to talk about another tragedy that has befallen one of our bravest citizens," Lightfoot said. "I won't speak for the mother, but I can tell you that she poured everything she could into her child."
The mayor and officers were fighting back tears as they gave details about what happened.
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson released a statement on the shooting:
This is a profound tragedy, and my heart breaks for the family of the young officer who was murdered early this morning on her way home from work. 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. I pray that her killer is apprehended quickly so that justice may be served.
"That a public servant was killed in the middle of the night underlines the fierce urgency of the public safety crisis in our city. My top priority is building a better, stronger, safer Chicago where all our residents can live and work free from the threat of violence.
Congressman Jonathan Jackson is calling for people to extend prayers for the family of the officer and for justice in prosecuting the shooter.
"We cannot continue to have our officers, or anyone shot and killed," he said. "We want the perpetrator or the suspects in this crime arrested and prosecuted."
Loyola University Chicago confirmed that Preston was set to graduate with a master's degree next week. The university released the following statement.
Loyola University Chicago confirms that Police Officer Areanah Preston was scheduled to graduate on May 13 with a Masters of Jurisprudence from the School of Law. Our University community is shocked and saddened by her tragic passing. She will be remembered by her faculty and classmates for her kindness, intellect, and commitment to service. We wish to express our deepest condolences to the Preston family and to all those whose lives she touched.
A complete statement is forthcoming pending consultation with the Preston family.
Hours after the shooting, police went door to door to see if neighborhood smart doorbells and surveillance cameras caught any video of the shooters.
Tina Wallace gave CBS 2 Ring video of the officers searching her neighborhood.
"I was like, 'Oh my God. That's the closest thing." That says how's the thing that happened since we've been here. I've been here 10 years and never had anything come around here. This neighborhood is safe," Wallce said.
She said their block has an active neighborhood watch. She walks with Verlie Brown, one of the residents who has been there longest -- since 1965.
"I mean, it has come at 79th and Avalon, and it has come at Ellis. It has come at Dorchester. But never this close to us," Brown said.
They didn't know the woman killed, but they hope there are more answers soon, for her family and for the safety of the neighborhood.
"But my heart dies for them. I hate it especially, police officers," Brown said. "I've been here since 1965. Nothing like this is never happened this close to home. It frightened me."
An investigation into the shooting is underway. An autopsy has been scheduled for Sunday.
No arrests have been made.
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