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4 charged with first-degree murder of CPD officer Areanah Preston

Four teens stand charged in murder of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston
Four teens stand charged in murder of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston 03:40

CHICAGO (CBS)-- The Chicago Police Department announced charges against four people in connection to the shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Interim Supt. Eric Carter announced first-degree murder charges against the four offenders including three men - Jakwon Buchanan, 18, Joseph Brooks, 19, Trevell Breeland, 19--and Jaylen Frazier, 16, who will be tried as an adult.

Jakwon Buchanan, 18, Joseph Brooks, 19, Trevell Breeland, 19, (pictured left to right) and Jaylen Frazier, 16, were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Areanah Preston. Provided to CBS

They will also face additional charges including armed robbery, arson, burglary, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and unlawful use of a weapon. All four are being held on no bond.

Carter said the offenders were out looking for robbery victims in the overnight hours from Friday into Saturday morning. They are connected to multiple robberies and a motor vehicle theft earlier that morning leading to the murder of Officer Preston.

The offenders pulled up in a stolen vehicle, a red Kia in the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue in the Avalon Park neighborhood. They approached Preston, who was in uniform, while armed. 

One of the offenders fired shots at Preston, who returned fire. Police say at least two of the suspects fired weapons. 

The offenders continued to shoot at her, and one of the others took Preston's weapon before fleeing the scene, according to Carter. Her weapon has not been recovered. 

The initial call of the shooting came around 1:42 a.m. on Saturday, but a backlog issue in the district led to a delay where officers didn't immediately respond. Around 2:02 a.m., a 911 alert was received from Preston's Apple Watch. 

An arriving officer from the South Chicago (4th) District responding to a traffic crash found Preston. The officer rendered aid, placed her into the back of a squad car, and took her to the University of Chicago Medical Center where she later succumbed to her injuries. 

Meanwhile, the stolen red Kia was later found burned out in the 7200 block of South Eberhart Avenue in a vacant lot.

The youngest suspect, Frazier, told a friend they intended to rob Preston and she fired her weapon, prosecutors said.

That friend went straight to police and called Frazier again. This time, detectives were listening.

"During this phone call defendant, Frazier made additional admissions to the robbery and the shooting - including details that had not been released," McCord said.

As police monitored a residence near 76th and Bishop streets in Auburn Gresham, Buchanan got into an Uber armed with several guns, prosecutors said. Court documents reveal one of the guns matched the shell casings found at the scene of Officer Preston's murder.

Police pulled over the Uber and arrested the remaining suspects at that same location after a SWAT standoff with police.

Prosecutors say the murder weapon, a Glock-19, contained fingerprints from Brooks, Breeland, and Buchanan. 

Investigators say of the nine shell casings, two were confirmed to have been fired from the weapon - both also containing fingerprints from the men. Analysis of the other seven casings is still being conducted. DNA evidence implicating the suspects was also recovered. 

4 charged with first-degree murder of CPD officer Areanah Preston 02:37

'We're missing someone'

During the news conference, Carter along with 5th District Commander Tyrone Pendarvis shared memories and the context of Preston's character. 

"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.  

"She connected with everyone," Pendarvis said. "She was empathetic to everyone's problems regardless of what role they were in as far as arresting officer or arrestee. Everyone that came in contact with her was affected by this news and she will truly be missed." 

Family of Chicago police officer shot to death speaks as suspects face charges 02:23

Preston's mother, Dionne Mhoon, spoke after bond court to members of the news media on Tuesday. Mhoon was surrounded by her husband, Terrence, and twin daughters.

"I stand before you guys today as a mother; a heartbroken mother; a mother that full of anger, rage, questions why," said Preston's mother, Dianne Mhoon.

Mhoon described their family as "tight-knit" and said they would plan many trips and events together, including a big party later this month to celebrate Preston's graduation from Loyola University with a master's degree. Preston was set to graduate on Saturday.

"We're missing someone," Mhoon said. "It's always going to be a hole that can't be filled."

A spokesperson for Loyola University said Mhoon will accept the degree on her daughter's behalf.

Mhoon also expressed sympathy for the four suspects charged in her daughter's murder and said she prays for their families.

"As I said in that courtroom today, the people I really felt sorry for was those boys," Mhoon said. "I felt sorry for them because nobody obviously didn't pour into them. Nobody told them that they were loved. Nobody told them that you could do anything like I constantly preach to my daughters."

Still, when Mhoon was asked what justice would look like for her daughter, she responded, "Justice to me is ... a life sentence."

A procession for Preston worked its way through the city on Tuesday followed by a vigil and balloon release at the district station where she worked.

A vigil will be held for Preston Thursday at 7:30 p.m. near the entrance of the DuSable Black History Museum, located at 740 E. 56th Pl.   

Organizers are encouraging people who show up to bring yellow, purple, or white balloons to the release.

Family grieves Chicago police officer Areanah Preston after she was shot to death 02:36
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