(CHICAGO) — Four teenagers have been charged in the murder of a beloved 24-year-old Chicago police officer, after one of the teens allegedly confessed his involvement to a friend as detectives listened in, according to court documents.
Officer Aréanah Preston had just finished her shift and was still in uniform when she was shot and killed at about 1:42 a.m. Saturday, according to Chicago police.
The four suspects “were out looking for victims” that night and are believed to be connected to multiple robberies and a car theft in the hours leading up to Preston’s murder, interim Chicago Police Superintendent Eric Carter said at a news conference. The teens, dressed in black and wearing masks, were all armed with guns, according to court documents.
As Preston was returning home, the teens pulled up in a stolen car, and at least two of the teens allegedly fired at her, according to police.
Preston returned fire, but the teens continued to shoot, and they allegedly stole Preston’s gun before fleeing, Carter said.
Preston’s gun has not been recovered, police said.
Carter said Preston was a “beloved, daughter, sister and friend who wanted to make a difference in this world” and “create a better future for Chicago.”
The four suspects — Trevell Breeland, 19; Joseph Brooks, 19; Jakwon Buchanan, 18; and Jaylan Frazier, 16 — were all charged with first-degree murder and face other charges, including armed robbery and arson, police said. The 16-year-old is charged as an adult, police said.
On Saturday night, hours after Preston was killed, the 16-year-old suspect allegedly confessed his involvement to a friend. The 16-year-old asked the friend if he’d seen Preston’s murder on the news, and claimed “that was his work,” according to court documents.
The 16-year-old allegedly told the friend “they were out robbing people when they saw a single female in her car. They were going to rob her but the female shot at them,” and then “one of the guys he was with shot back,” according to court documents.
After hearing this, the 16-year-old’s friend went to the police, according to the court documents.
With detectives listening in, the friend called the 16-year-old suspect back on speaker phone. On that call, the 16-year-old suspect made “additional admissions to the robbery and shooting including details that had not been released,” court documents said.
On Monday, in a call with his mom, the 16-year-old allegedly “made admissions to participating in the robberies and being present for the murder,” court documents said. On Tuesday, the 16-year-old allegedly told his mom that they had sold Preston’s gun, court documents said.
Brooks, one of the 19-year-old suspects, allegedly admitted that Preston reached for her gun but “he shot first” toward her and then “fired a number of rounds at her,” court documents said.
The suspects were denied bail at a bond hearing on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The teens are set to return to court on May 30.
Police Officer Aréanah M. Preston
End of Watch: May 6, 2023
We join Officer Preston’s family and loved ones in mourning the loss of our fallen hero. Our hearts are heavy, but through our grief, we will carry on her legacy of service to Chicago and its people. pic.twitter.com/cZOTrGKZzS
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) May 8, 2023
ABC News’ Cheryl Gendron contributed to this report.
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