Cops’ delayed response to find fatally wounded officer, Lightfoot’s last week in office 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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Law enforcement gathers Saturday in the 8100 block of South Blackstone Avenue, hours after officer Aréanah Preston was shot to death while returning to her home.

Ashlee Rezin/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 mostly sunny with a high near 68 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low near 48. Look for sunny weather tomorrow with a high near 78.

Top story

Why did it take Chicago cops more than 30 minutes to find a fatally wounded officer?

ShotSpotter, the city’s gunshot detection system, quickly picked up a barrage of gunfire that left Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Preston fatally wounded during a shootout with robbers on her way home from work early Saturday.

However, an officer wasn’t dispatched to her block in Avalon Park until her Apple Watch reported a car crash around 2:02 a.m., roughly 20 minutes after the initial ShotSpotter alert. A traffic cop ultimately responded at 2:15 a.m. and reported Preston had been shot.

“We got a person shot. It’s an off-duty [police officer],” the traffic cop says over the radio before rushing Preston to the hospital himself.

In the days since the shooting, police officials haven’t provided an explanation why it took so long for police and emergency crews to respond to the shooting.

Anthony Riccio, the retired first deputy police superintendent, said it appears there was a backlog of calls and “the dispatcher didn’t have a car to assign to the ShotSpotter alert.”

“When they received the traffic accident from the Apple Watch, [the dispatcher] gave it to a traffic car,” he noted. “Typically it’s a one-man car, and the only thing they’re assigned to is traffic accidents.”

Traffic cops typically cover an entire police district, not a smaller beat like patrol cars, Riccio noted.

“Because they’re a one-man car, they don’t get assigned shots fired, domestics, robberies, things like that,” he said. “Nothing precludes them from going, but typically they’re not assigned to them, and they don’t go to them.

“Had somebody gotten there sooner,” he added, “it may have had a different outcome certainly.”

Our Mohammad Samra and Tom Schuba have more on the delayed response.

More news you need

Lightfoot’s last week


Mayor Lori Lightfoot gives her farewell address at BUILD located at 5100 W. Harrison St. in the West Garfield Park neighborhood yesterday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

With just six days to go until leaving office, it’s been a melancholy week full of lasts for Chicago’s 56th mayor.

Yesterday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered an emotional farewell to a friendly crowd of supporters while attempting to define her own legacy, even after her fate as a one-termer had been decided by Chicago voters.

One week before handing the reins of power to Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, Ohio native Lightfoot said she is leaving the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall — but not her adopted city.

Today, the mayor awarded her last set of “Chicago Arts Recovery” grants — totaling $10 million for 77 recipients — to help local arts organizations across the city continue their recovery from the pandemic. Lightfoot urged Johnson — without mentioning his name — to continue that same level of support for the arts.

More on Lightfoot’s exit speech and the grants she awarded today from our Fran Spielman.

A bright one ✨

Superdawg at 75 — the iconic Chicago eatery remains a labor of love and a hot dog fan favorite

It’s easy to spot Superdawg Drive-In in the distance as you drive along Milwaukee Avenue nearing Devon: Two 12-foot-tall hot dogs — Maurie, a muscular, circus-style strongman, and his sweetheart Flaurie, her sausage crown topped with a big blue bow — glow like beacons from their rooftop perch.

These two weenies have been surveying the cars that pull in and out of this classic carport-style drive-in since 1948 when Superdawg was a cruisin’ hotspot. Made of paper mache wrapped around a chicken-wire frame, their insides are still stuffed with the original newspapers.

“Their eyes don’t just blink; they wink at each other adoringly,” said Scott Berman, son of Maurie and Florence “Flaurie” Berman, the real-life figures behind Superdawg’s delightful, crowning statues.

Today, Scott Berman co-owns the drive-in with his sister, Lisa Drucker, and her husband, Don Drucker, a trio you’re bound to see on site, taking orders from the always buzzing, circa 1954 switchboard or assembling Superdawgs. (Maurie Berman died in 2015. Florence Berman died in 2018.)


Co-owners of Superdawg (from left) — Don Drucker, and his wife Lisa Drucker, and her brother Scott Berman, sit together outside Superdawg located at located at 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Superdawg Drive-In is celebrating its 75th birthday on Tuesday.

There are hundreds of places in the city where you can find an authentic Chicago-style hot dog, nothing beats driving into Superdawg on a summer night. Yes, you can place your order indoors at the counter.

But there’s nothing like pulling into one of the carports, rolling down your window, placing your order via the vintage menu speaker box, and waiting for a carhop to clip the resulting tray of food to your window. Delectable hot dogs, hand-cut fries, and rich Supermalts, all from the comfort of your car.

The Superdawg experience is a journey back in time. It’s a story that began in the hallways of Von Steuben High School, where Maurie Berman and Florence (“Flaurie”) fell in love.

Amy Bizzarri has the full story on Superdawg’s origins as it marks a major milestone.

From the press box 🏒⚾️🏀

Your daily question☕

What’s something every neighborhood in Chicago should have?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: It’s well known that our city has plenty of places to explore, so we want to know — what is your most recent Chicago discovery?

Here’s some of what you said...

“The Epiphany Center for the Arts, a historic church on Ashland Avenue that has been converted into a venue for the visual and performing arts. The Chicago Humanities Fest hosted a day of events on May 6th, and the spaces in the Chapel, Chancery and Catacombs are magnificent. Add an outdoor terrace/garden and a well-stocked bar with food on the side — it’s a wonderful addition to the city.” — Doug Hurdelbrink

I recently learned that the Adler Planetarium is free for Chicago residents on Wednesday nights. You get entry into the planetarium and one sky show. Extra bonus: check out the cafeteria while you are there — the view is one of the best in the city!” — Sandra Verthein

“Chicago has a National Park! The Pullman National Historical Park on the South Side is an amazing blend of architecture, railroad, industrial, labor and civil rights history — well worth a visit!” — Mike Matejka

“I just discovered the AIDS Garden Chicago, which is just off the Lakefront Trail and south of Belmont Harbor — nice winding paths, benches for sitting and terrific views of Lake Michigan.” — Gene Tenner

“West Ridge Nature Park, on Western, South of Peterson, next to Rosehill Cemetery.” — Thom Clark

“La Chaparrita Grocery at 25th and Whipple in Little Village. Great tacos.” — Robert Haugland

“Red Orchid, Lifeline Theater, Time Line Theater and lots of great, innovative, small theaters.” — Maureen Rhoda

“The wooden cobblestone street/alley next to the historical society. Yes WOODEN. Looks very much like regular cobblestone but made of wood, apparently common at one time.” — Greg Kazzewits

“The Wild Mile!! Urban Rivers builds floating gardens and boardwalks on the city’s rivers and populates them with native foliage to create healthier ecosystems and accessible green spaces. So many cool birds, fish, turtles, bunnies, and even a beaver family! The pilot project is the Wild Mile near goose island, but there’s another garden location near park 571 — bubbly creek. Totally free and open to the public! Check it out!” — Sage Rossman

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

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