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Four teenagers have been charged in thewho was slain last weekend as she was heading home from work, authorities said Wednesday.
Nineteen-year-olds Joseph Brooks and Trevell Breeland, Jakwon Buchanan, 18, and a 16-year-old boy face charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery in Saturday’s killing of Officer Aréanah Preston, 24. The 16-year-old suspect will be tried as an adult,.
The Chicago Police Department said Preston was fatally shot about 1:40 a.m. Saturday during a robbery spree.
All four were also charged with armed robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft and other offenses in connection with incidents that occurred on Friday and Saturday, police said.
The youngest suspect allegedly bragged to a friend about the shooting, CBS Chicago reported. That friend went straight to police and called the suspect again, the station reported. This time, detectives were listening.
“During this phone call defendant, [the suspect] made additional admissions to the robbery and the shooting – including details that had not been released,” Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Rodgers McCord said.
The four were ordered held without bail Wednesday by Judge David Kelly, who said prosecutors had provided “a mountain of evidence” that the suspects had “engaged in a very violent crime spree.”
After the bond hearing, Preston’s mother, Dionne Mhoon, said she was “heartbroken” and “full of anger, rage, questions why.”
It wasn’t immediately known if they had lawyers who could comment for them.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement commending police for swiftly apprehending the suspects responsible for Preston’s “heinous murder.”
“Their diligent efforts have removed violent, repeat offenders from our streets,” Lightfoot said.
Cook County prosecutors said Preston was off duty and on her way home after her shift early Saturday on the city’s South Side when the suspects passed her in a sedan, circled back and approached her as she stood in front of her house.
Residential surveillance video shows three people getting out of the sedan and running toward Preston, who was still in uniform, before several muzzle flashes are visible on video and she falls to the ground, according to court documents. The attackers ran back to the sedan before one person returned to grab Preston’s gun, court documents allege.
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, CBS Chicago reported. Around 2:02 a.m., a 911 alert was received from Preston’s Apple Watch.
Interim Police Superintendent Eric Carter said Preston’s death was a tragedy for the city.
Tyrone Pendarvis, the commander of the 5th District where Preston served, said the officer was a rising star whose death affected all who know her.
“She will truly be missed,” he said.
Preston worked for the department for just three years before her killing, according to department officials. Hers is considered a line-of-duty death, which entitles her family to financial assistance from the state, the Chicago Tribune reported.