Mothers mourn following fatal shooting of police officer, city shows off new casino design plans, and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Dionne Mhoon, mother of Chicago police Officer Aréanah Preston, talks to reporters yesterday, after a hearing for four teens accused of killing her daughter.

Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about an eight-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

Weather ☀️

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 84 degrees. Tonight — scattered showers a low near 61. Expect rainy weather tomorrow with a high near 69.

Top story

Two mothers linked by tragedy: One lost her police officer daughter, the other’s 16-year-old son is accused of the murder

Dionne Mhoon was careful with her words as she stood in the lobby of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse yesterday, minutes after hearing how four teens had killed her daughter, a Chicago police officer.

“I stand before you guys today as a mother, a heartbroken mother, a mother that’s full of anger, rage,” Mhoon told reporters.

Her 24-year-old daughter, Aréanah Preston, had been looking forward to graduating this weekend from Loyola University Chicago with a master’s degree in criminology — just a week from the day she was gunned down.

The family was looking forward to a big party to celebrate Preston’s and other family members’ academic accomplishments.

“Why?” Mhoon asked.

The same question worried another mother, Jaquanna Walker, whose 16-year-old son is the youngest of the four suspects charged with first-degree murder.

Her son Jaylen Frazier is still alive, but Walker said it feels like she has lost him as well.

“It’s almost as if he’s dead because his life is over at such a young age,” Walker said.

Each mother was left thinking of the other.

Mhoon told reporters she “felt sorry” for those accused of killing her daughter.

“As I sat in that courtroom today, the people I really felt sorry for was those boys,” Mhoon said. “I felt sorry for them because nobody, obviously, didn’t pour into them. Nobody told them you were loved, nobody told them you can do anything, like I constantly preach to my daughters.”

Walker said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that she attended a memorial Tuesday for Preston after leaving the police station to turn in her son.

“She did not deserve that,” Walker said. “I am very, very sorry about what happened.”

More on these two mothers linked by tragedy from our Matthew Hendrickson, David Struett and Tom Schuba.

More news you need

A bright one ✨

Special Olympics Spring Games hosts thousands of Chicago participants: ‘Gold medals can take them places’

“I’ve got this,” 21-year-old Anna Mathews says as she sits on a bench at Dunbar Park on Tuesday. She’s nervous, but confident. More than 15 years participating in the Chicago Special Olympics and 50-plus gold medals help, too.

As the starter pistol goes off for the 100 meter dash, Mathews takes off and before long she speeds ahead her competitors. She wins the race, and with that gold medal she will head down to Bloomington, Illinois, in June for the statewide competition.

This week 2,092 competitors with intellectual disabilities from ages 8 to 65 have competed in a variety of track and field events for the Spring Games, said Melissa Garritano, managing director of Special Olympics Illinois. The athletes train and compete year-round, but the spring games — which involve 25 events —are major.


Kara McElligott poses for a portrait after a race in the 100m race at the 2023 Spring Special Olympics Games at Dunbar Park on Tuesday

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Typical track and field races like meter dashes and shot put, along with wheelchair races, tennis ball throws and assisted races, are among events this week.

Kara McElligott got a participation ribbon for her first race — a 100 meter. It’s the 35-year-old’s second year competing.

“I just love the whole atmosphere,” McElligott said. “It doesn’t bother me if I don’t win; I’m just going to compete. I’m just gonna have fun.”

More on this year’s Spring Games from our Mariah Rush.

From the press box ⚾️🏀🏈

Your daily question☕

What’s one major way that you think Chicago has changed since the start of the pandemic?

Email us (please include your first and last name) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s something that’s definitely on your Chicago to-do list this summer?

Here’s some of what you said...

“Definitely getting out on Lake Michigan on somebody’s boat!” — Steven Posey

“Most definitely, visit Buckingham Fountain.” — Freddie Harris

“Cubs game and maybe Bruce Springsteen concert at Wrigley.” — Norine McDevitt Kelly

“Ride my bike on DLSD next to the beaches!” — Ruben Esco

“Earth, Wind & Fire and Lionel Richie at the United Center.” — Mike Wiethorn

“On my to-do list: concerts — Madonna, Shania, Lionel, Loggins, and more. Cubs. And comedy, Martins — Short and Steve. All things I’m eager to ‘C,’ so to speak.” — Paul Lockwood

“South Shore High School All Class Festival at Rainbow Beach. Class of ‘73 is celebrating our 50th Anniversary there too!” — Jeanette Samuels Battle

“Can’t wait for Maestro Muti to conduct the CSO in a free concert at Millennium Park on June 27th!” — Rita Hasner

“Go to all three locations of Reckless Records, and then have a tasty meal at Stella’s Diner!” — Joey Traughber

“Cubs game, all the street fests, and Riot Fest!” — Jackie Pellenz

“Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lion cubs, and to visit Buckingham Fountain” — Susan Gryz Hannigan

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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