An aspiring rapper is among 2 men and 3 women arrested in the fatal shooting of off-duty Chicago police Officer Areanah Preston.
A police source told CBS 2, the 5 suspects are charged with armed robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. A male suspect is still at large.
No one has been charged with killing Officer Preston, as investigators await ballistics tests on guns recovered from the suspects.
Preston, 24, was shot multiple times in the chest after exchanging gunfire with 2 suspects who tried to rob her on her front lawn. She was ambushed after arriving home from work, according to police.
The officer’s service weapon was stolen during the armed robbery.
Aspiring rapper Lil Munchie and a female suspect are pictured here. They were taken into custody after getting into an Uber on Sunday night.
The unsuspecting Uber driver found himself surrounded by cops with weapons drawn.
Video taken by the Uber driver shows a gun on the ground next to his car. Police reports say it was a semi-automatic 9mm pistol.
In his rap song, titled “Switches,” Lil Munchie waves a gun and raps about his fondness for a small device that converts a handgun into a lethal machine gun, capable of firing 100 rounds in 5 seconds.
“Fell in love with shootin’ switches, they so fast,” he raps in a music video.
Lil Munchie’s neighbor referred to him as a “menace” and a “thug” who was a repeat offender.
“I’m not surprised at all,” the neighbor, who asked not to be named, told The Chicago Sun-Times.
The aspiring rapper is pictured as a minor in 2019. “He’s a typical thug” who has been “in and out of jail,” the neighbor said.
“I hope he didn’t kill that lady, but I’m glad he’s off the streets,” he added.
The 19-year-old suspect had lived in Auburn Gresham for two years with his mother and younger sibling, the neighbor said. “There’s always one bad apple, and he was the bad one.”
Officer Preston’s shooting was partially captured on a Ring doorbell camera.
It’s still unclear why police took over 30 minutes to respond to shots fired in the area of Officer Preston’s home.
Critics say her life could have been saved if fellow officers responded quickly to the city’s gunshot surveillance system, ShotSpotter.
9 gunshots were first detected by ShotSpotter in the area of Preston’s home on the city’s South Side at the time she was ambushed.
Police did not respond until after an Apple Watch indicated a car crash nearby. The first officer arrived on the scene about 15 minutes after the car crash — and more than 30 minutes after Preston was shot.
“We got a person shot,” the officer said over the radio. “It’s an off-duty [police officer]. Get an ambulance here now!”
The officer loaded Preston into his squad car and rushed her to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford defended the slow response time. Langford said an ambulance and a paramedic-staffed fire engine were dispatched “less than a minute” after the radio call that an officer had been shot. They arrived on the scene about 8 minutes after that, he said.
The neighborhood was crawling with police activity hours later. Detectives went door-to-door asking neighbors if they saw or heard anything. Some said they heard the gunshots, but no one called 911.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke at a news conference on Saturday alongside Interim Chicago police Supt. Eric Carter (center), whose daughter attended high school with Preston.
“When I got the call this morning, I wasn’t just a mayor. I was a mom,” Lightfoot said through tears. “I’m thinking about what the parents of this young officer are going to be feeling today.”
Preston worked for the Chicago Police Department for three years and was pursuing a master’s degree in criminology from Loyola University Chicago. She would have graduated on May 13.
Her death will be considered in the line of duty so her family is entitled to extra benefits, Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara said Sunday.
Preston’s father, Allen Preston, who lives in Los Angeles, was still waiting for answers as of Saturday afternoon. He commented on the slow police response to his daughter’s shooting.
“She was trying to make a change on this Earth,” he said. “It’s unforgivable, in my eyes.”