Chicago police announced four suspects have been charged in the armed robbery murder of Chicago police officer Areanah Preston, 24.
The suspects are (L-R) Travel Breeland, Joseph Brooks, both 19, Jakwon Buchanan, 18, and Jaylen Frazier, 16 (not pictured). They are charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, burglary, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, arson, and other felonies.
A judge ordered them held without bond during a bail hearing on Wednesday.
A phone call made by aspiring rapper Jaylen Frazier, aka Lil Jaylen, helped police crack the case. He reportedly asked a friend if he heard about the officer’s death. “That was my work,” he reportedly said.
The friend later went to the police and, in front of detectives, called Frazier and put him on speakerphone. Frazier implicated himself when he bragged about the shooting, “including details that had not been released,” prosecutors said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord-Rodgers said the robbery spree began when Buchanan was contacted by his girlfriend who needed money for a barbecue.
The girlfriend and another female picked up the four gang members late Friday night.
The prosecutor said Buchanan took the wheel and drove the six teens around looking for people to rob. They had already committed other armed robberies that night before they spotted Officer Preston parking her car after arriving home from work.
McCord-Rodgers said Buchanan brought the car to a “screeching halt” in the 900 block of East 46th Street, and the four thugs got out with guns.
They robbed Preston of her Louis Vuitton belt, service weapon, credit cards, and identification, then forced her to unlock her iPhone, which they also stole.
Preston was shot multiple times in the chest and left for dead on her front lawn. Her Apple Watch notified police of a possible car crash — about 20 minutes after she was shot. An arriving officer found Preston unconscious and bleeding out. He loaded her into his squad car and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A few minutes later, the four thugs stole a red Kia Forte parked in the 4700 block of South Indiana Avenue. The two women drove off in the other vehicle.
Hours later, the red Kia was found charred and abandoned in a residential neighborhood.
Buchanan, also known as aspiring rapper Lil Munchie, got into an Uber with his girlfriend sometime after the murder. The Uber was quickly surrounded by police and they were taken into custody.
In his rap song, titled “Switches,” Lil Munchie waves a gun and raps about committing armed robberies and killing his opps.
“Fell in love with shootin’ switches, they so fast,” he raps in a music video (the music video is now private).
Switches are small devices that turn handguns into lethal high-capacity machine guns capable of firing 100 rounds in 5 seconds.
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.
Suspects Breeland and Brooks proclaim their innocence in this video: “Free us… This sh*t is not true.”
Preston’s mother, Dionne Mhoon, will accept her master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago on May 13.