Four individuals have been charged with the murder of a Chicago police officer while she was commuting home from work

Four individuals, including a 16-year-old, have been accused of the murder of Aréanah Preston, a highly regarded Chicago police officer who was tragically killed shortly after completing her shift.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Trevell Breeland (19), Joseph Brooks (19), Jakwon Buchanan (18), and Jaylan Frazier (16) are now facing charges of murder, along with various other felony charges. Prosecutors have revealed that the group embarked on a violent crime spree in response to a request from one of their girlfriends, who sought money for a barbecue.

According to interim Chicago Police Superintendent Eric Carter, the four suspects were actively seeking victims when they noticed Aréanah Preston on her way home after an early shift in the South Side of the city. Surveillance footage reveals that three of the teenagers swiftly exited a stolen sedan and launched an ambush on Preston shortly after 1:40 a.m. on Saturday. Despite still being in uniform, Preston instinctively reached for her firearm, prompting at least one of the suspects to open fire.

Tragically, Preston was fatally struck in the ensuing exchange of gunfire.

Following the incident, the teens fled the scene, taking Preston’s firearm with them. Court documents indicate that they later sold the stolen weapon.

Police Superintendent Carter echoed the sentiment, calling Preston’s death a tragedy for the city.

During a detention hearing on Wednesday, Cook County Judge David Kelly ordered that the teenagers be held without bail, citing a substantial amount of evidence that implicates them in what he described as a “very violent crime spree.” In addition to the murder charges, they are also facing accusations of armed robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other offenses related to a series of incidents that occurred from Friday night into Saturday, as stated by the police.

According to officials from the department, Preston had served as a police officer for only three years before her tragic death. Her passing is recognized as a line-of-duty death, making her family eligible for financial support from the state.

After the bond hearing, Preston’s mother, Dionne Mhoon, expressed her profound sorrow and emotions of anger, rage, and a multitude of questions during a brief statement. She described herself as heartbroken by the devastating loss.

“She will truly be missed,” he said.