Gilbert chief of police says violence won’t be tolerated in wake of ‘Gilbert Goons’ attacks

Jan 3, 2024, 6:33 PM | Updated: 9:33 pm

Gilbert chief of police...

Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg, left, released a statement Wednesday on teen violence. Preston Lord, right, died after an attack by a gang of violent teens known as the "Gilbert Goons." (City of Gilbert Photo/GoFundMe Photo)

(City of Gilbert Photo/GoFundMe Photo)

PHOENIX — The Gilbert Police Department said it’s working hard to protect teens in the East Valley in a Wednesday announcement.

“We hear and understand the community’s fear and frustration in response to recent incidents involving teen violence,” Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg said in a statement.

His announcement referred to the high-profile murder of Preston Lord, a 16-year-old who was beaten and killed at a Halloween party last year.

Although the party took place in Queen Creek, the culprits were linked to a teenage gang known as the “Gilbert Goons,” officials said.

Both police departments are currently investigating the case.

Gilbert chief of police praises breakthrough on Preston Lord investigation

The Queen Creek PD announced on Dec. 28 it was seeking charges against seven suspects in its investigation into Lord’s murder.

Soelberg said the Gilbert PD is supportive of Queen Creek’s ongoing investigation of Lord’s death.

Currently, both departments are awaiting the response from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

In the meantime, the Gilbert PD is “thoroughly reviewing” prior cases of teen violence from the last two years, Soelberg said.

“Violence will not be tolerated in our community and I can assure you that all of our resources are being used in our efforts to maintain the safety of our community members, especially our youth,” he said. “Gilbert PD will continue increased patrols of high traffic areas often frequented by teens.”

In other words, expect to see more officers around shopping centers and the city’s downtown heritage district.

He added that anyone with information that can help the Gilbert PD can call 480-503-6500 or visit the online tip site.

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Gilbert chief of police says violence won’t be tolerated in wake of ‘Gilbert Goons’ attacks