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Young Chicago Police Officer Killed In Avalon Park Shortly After Finishing Shift

Aréanah Preston, 24, was off duty when someone fatally shot her early Saturday in Avalon Park, police said. She had been a police officer for three years.

Left: Slain Chicago Police officer Aréanah Preston. Right: ​​Interim Chicago Police Supt. Eric Carter and Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke about the Preston's death during a news conference outside the University of Chicago Hospital Saturday morning.
Chicago Police Department/Screenshot
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AVALON PARK — An off-duty Chicago police officer was shot and killed early Saturday in Avalon Park. 

The officer, identified as 24-year-old Aréanah Preston by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and police, had just completed her shift at 1:42 a.m. when someone shot her in the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue, police said.

Preston was transported to University of Chicago Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, ​​interim police Supt. Eric Carter said at a news conference Saturday morning outside the hospital.

Preston had worked in the 5th Police District for three years, Carter said. 

Area 2 detectives are investigating, but “not much information is known,” Carter said. No one is in custody, police said.

Anyone with information about the situation can leave an anonymous tip at or call 833-408-0069.

An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared her condolences with Preston’s family and urged Chicagoans to respect police officers during the news conference Saturday. 

“It goes without saying, but I’ve directed the superintendent to spare no expense, to make sure we find the people responsible for this and bring them to justice,” Lightfoot said during the news conference. “Of course, that’s cold comfort to a family that is now grieving and has to walk this journey of grief and tragedy that no family should have to walk and certainly not under these circumstances.” 

Lightfoot urged reporters not to reach out to Preston’s family, as they have requested privacy to grieve. She said the family is “completely shattered.”

Lightfoot said Preston’s death reminded her of the death of Ella French, a police officer who was fatally shot while on duty and died at the same hospital in August 2021. A 21-year-old man was charged with murder in French’s killing.

“There are some who say that our police officers are not worthy of respect. There are some who say that we should not be supporting and funding our Police Department,” Lightfoot said. “I would urge any person who holds that view to reflect on moments like this.” 

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said he’s “outraged and devastated by this horrific act of violence against a public servant.” He said he will do everything he can to support Preston’s family and the Police Department, and he prays “the killer is apprehended quickly so that justice my 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,” Johnson said in a statement. “My top priority is building a better stronger, safer Chicago where all our residents can live and work free from the threat of violence.” 

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