CHICAGO — Family and friends shared a complete picture of fallen Chicago police officer Aréanah Preston’s life on Wednesday, remembering the 24-year-old’s sincerity, outgoing personality and fearlessness.
The familiar yet somber tone of bagpipes filled the air outside the 95th Street Church Wednesday morning as her coffin passed by hundreds of fellow officers, who stood saluting their fallen colleague.
Once inside, fellow officers, elected officials, loved ones and family paid their last respects to someone many described as warm and intelligent with a contagious smile.
“For Aréanah’s life to be cut short as she was living her dream, it doesn’t seem fair,” said former CPD interim Supt. Eric Carter.
Over two hours, mourners shared tales of a woman who was small in stature but big in personality. Preston was someone who loved the color yellow and sunflowers. Many described her as a young person who was genuinely a positive force in the city of Chicago.
It made it more lamentable that Preston’s life was cut short, just steps from her home at 81st and Blackstone in Avalon Park on May 6, allegedly by the doing of four males, who now face first-degree murder.
Preston had been returning home from her shift at the 5th district, where she’d dutifully served the city for the last three years. There, she’d made some best friends like the self-proclaimed ‘Fab 5.’
“She lived her life fearlessly,” said one of her fellow 5th District officers. “She did everything she wanted to do. We are going to miss our friend. (She) was always referencing a Tik Tok she had seen. She could make you laugh when you felt down.”
Former and present city elected officials also spoke as one-time Mayor Lori Lightfoot and newly sworn-in Mayor Brandon Johnson bemoaned the tragic and senseless loss of a city service member.
“In my time as mayor and the years before, I’ve attended too many of these funerals of our heroes taken way too soon,” Lightfoot said.
Added Johnson: “From everything I’ve read and heard about Aréanah, it’s not just that she was bright and talented but a compassionate human being.”
Preston’s mother, Dionne Mhoon, thanked city officers and leaders for their support. She also thanked God for ‘loaning us this angel.’ Through grief, she shared a message of hope.
“As a mother with faith, better days are coming ahead and better days are coming ahead because I gave my baby everything I had and then some,” she said. “I was determined to invest in her, so she invested in the world.
“Death is only tragic if you have not lived. My baby lived.”
Following the service, a guard of honor was held along 95th Street. Included in the procession were not just CPD officers but state police and departments from across Chicagoland and further afield, with some patrol vehicles from Indiana helping lead Preston’s body to her final resting place.
“Rest peacefully, my sweet baby,” Preston said at the service. “Momma has it from here.”