Relatives of Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston Call for End to Gun Violence at Candlelight Vigil – NBC Chicago

Family and friends came together for a candlelight vigil Saturday night to remember Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston and condemn violence across the city.

“You have done so much for so many, and you will be loved and missed tremendously forever…,” said her father, Allen Preston. “I can hear her voice right now saying, okay, Dad, when I told her to be careful out there.”

Her father shared memories of his beloved daughter, who was laid to rest on Wednesday.

“She’s a big deal from the beginning to the end for me and the whole world now with a police escort coming into this world and a police escort going home,” he said.

The 24-year-old was shot and killed two weeks ago during an armed robbery while returning home from work. Family said that just hours before Preston was killed, she stopped by the VFW post in the West Pullman neighborhood to send her cousin off to prom.

“How dare you think its okay to shoot someone for a dollar, five dollars, or any reason?” said her great aunt Maxine Anderson. “Life only belongs to God only.”

Her family spoke out about the crime and violence in Chicago that claimed another innocent life.

“It’s a disgrace that a police officer can’t go home and be safe,” said Preston’s great aunt Trudy Howard. “It’s a disgrace shame on everybody.”

Four teens have been arrested for her murder and are awaiting trial.

“We got to be concerned, what the heck is going on with all of this violence and with all these young people having guns and access to them?” said Lawanda Hawkins, founder of Justice For Murdered Children. “We can’t continue to allow this behavior to go on.”

While loved ones wait for justice to play out in the criminal justice system, they’re now left with a big void and trying to navigate life without her.

“We can’t have another person be a victim like Aréanah Preston. was to this gun violence that continues to happen on the south side of Chicago— it has to stop,” said Hawkins.

Three of the four teens charged with her murder are due back in court next week.

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