Chicago police are questioning 4 people in connection with murder of off-duty officer

Chicago police have detained four people for questioning in connection with the weekend murder of off-duty officer Areanah Preston, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The new developments began around 7:38 p.m. Sunday when a specialized detective unit stopped an Uber in the 7600 block of South Bishop after seeing a suspect leave a house on the block and get into the rideshare, according to a source.

The detectives took the suspect and a juvenile into custody during the traffic stop and recovered two firearms, the source said.

Police then surrounded the house that the suspect emerged from and brought in a SWAT team. The occupants of the home were detained as the stand-off ended early Monday. Two of the four people detained are female, but it is unclear if police believe all four were involved in Preston’s murder.

Investigators executed two search warrants at the Bishop address after the four were detained, a source said.

No charges have been filed as of Monday morning.

Preston, 24, was shot and killed as she arrived home in the 8100 block of South Blackstone around 1:43 a.m. Saturday, police said. A CPD officer for three years, she had just finished working her shift at the Calumet (5th) District.

Around 1:43 a.m., Chicago police received a ShotSpotter alert of gunfire at the location where Preston was later found. Audio of the ShotSpotter recording, provided to CWBChicago by a source, appeared to have captured three individual gunshots in quick succession, followed by a short round of automatic fire.

Despite the gunfire alert, no officers were assigned to investigate the situation until shortly after 2 a.m., when dispatchers received an Apple Watch alert at essentially the same location.

An officer found Preston lying in a yard about 15 minutes later and drove her to the University of Chicago Hospital in his squad car, but she did not survive.

Officials have not provided a motive for the crime, but a Facebook post by FOP Lodge 7, the union that represents front-line Chicago police officers, said Preston “was killed while trying to defend herself from armed individuals in an apparent robbery.”

CPD recently warned residents in the local police districts about three armed robberies that occurred late on April 28. Those robberies involved a group of masked and armed men who targeted victims as they exited their vehicles.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com