By Sam Charles
CHICAGO — Four people were arrested overnight in connection with the fatal shooting of an off-duty Chicago Police officer early Saturday on the South Side, according to police sources with knowledge of the investigation.
The four “persons of interest” — two males and two females — were brought into custody after an hours-long standoff with police in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, one source familiar with the situation said.
No one has been charged as of Monday morning. Investigators believe the group was involved in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old CPD officer Areanah Preston, sources said, who was shot and killed outside her home early Saturday after finishing her shift in the CPD’s Calumet District on the Far South Side.
A responding officer found Preston lying outside, and she was taken to the University of Chicago Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities have said.
Representatives for the CPD would not comment on the arrests Monday morning.
Preston, who lived in Avalon Park, worked for CPD for only three years before her death, according to department officials.
She had earned a master’s degree in child and family law from Loyola University Chicago, according to her LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. She graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement administration from Illinois State University, according to the profiles.
In a social media post, one of Preston’s friends remembered her as a “humble, dedicated, helpful, sophisticated soul.” Another remembered her as “the life of everything” and “as sweet as pie.”
During her undergraduate studies, Preston’s academic interests ranged from restorative justice and trauma in incarcerated populations to diversity in law enforcement and police brutality.
A former professor of Preston’s at ISU, criminal justice scientist Charles Bell, said he met the young woman as a student. She attended a panel that included formerly incarcerated individuals and was in a class Bell teaches on “Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice.”
“She understands the intimate details about what is happening in the community, some of the challenges that are impacting policing and mass incarceration,” he told the Tribune. “She was very vocal about that and sharing it with the class and deeply passionate about making a difference.”
The police department suffered a similar tragedy earlier this year when officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic-related call in Gage Park. In that case, Steven Montano, 18, of the 2500 block of South Lawndale, was charged with first-degree murder, weapons charges and interfering with a domestic violence report. The case is pending.