Here’s a timeline of everything involving Preston Lord, Gilbert Goons, East Valley youth violence
Feb 21, 2024, 3:00 AM | Updated: 10:14 am
(KTAR News Photo/Heidi Hommel)
PHOENIX — The East Valley has been rocked in the past several months due to allegations of teen violence, the emergence of a possible gang called the Gilbert Goons and the death of 16-year-old Preston Lord.
Lord’s October 2023 death brought to light other allegations of violence, involvement from the FBI and more attention to East Valley police departments investigating the cases.
Here’s a timeline of everything we know involving Lord, the Gilbert Goons and the scope of East Valley youth violence:
A juvenile was assaulted outside of a home near Higley and Riggs Roads in Gilbert.
A group of people assaulted an adult in a parking garage on Vaughn Avenue west of Gilbert Road in downtown Gilbert.
There was an assault on a victim in Gilbert.
There was an assault near Higley and Elliot roads.
Connor Jarnagan, 17, was assaulted while in his vehicle by a group of youths outside the In-N-Out Burger on Market Street near Williams Field Road and Santan Village Parkway, leaving him bloodied and requiring staples in his head.
A minor was assaulted in Mesa near Val Vista Drive and Pueblo Avenue, between Broadway Road and Baseline Avenue. It wasn’t reported to police until January.
William Owen Hines, 18, was accused of vehicular assault in connection with an incident that left a victim injured.
A group of youths violently attacked a minor at the In-N-Out Burger on Market Street in Gilbert.
Preston Lord, a student at Combs High School, was assaulted outside a Halloween party in Queen Creek and taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Lord died from his injuries two days after being assaulted. An homicide investigation into his death was opened.
The FBI joined the Preston Lord investigation, and a $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.
A 16-year-old boy was attacked by multiple people in a desert area near Wagon Wheel Road and Sun Dance Drive in San Tan Valley.
The Queen Creek Police Department said it was making progress in the Lord investigation, noting it had received hundreds of tips through the FBI.
Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice defended the lengthy Lord investigation, which had nearly reached the two-month mark without any arrests. The Arizona Republic previously reported possible links between Lord’s death and a group of youths known as the Gilbert Goons, who have been connected to a string of violent assaults in the East Valley.
Queen Creek PD announced it submitted charges against seven suspects in the Lord case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The list of names, which has not been released, included adults and minors.
Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg responded to the charges submitted in the Lord case and denounced youth violence in his city. Soelberg didn’t mention the Gilbert Goons by name but said the department was investigating prior cases involving youths in the past two years to see if there were any connections.
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said the review into charges stemming from Lord’s death would be a lengthy process. Mitchell said her prosecutors had to sift through an 1,800-page police report and 2,000 pieces of evidence, including 600 videos.
The Gilbert Police Department said it was investigating eight youth violence cases that could involve the Gilbert Goons, including four that were recently reopened. The department said the four new cases came from incidents that were previously unreported and came about through online tips. Police added that the investigations would determine if the Gilbert Goons could be classified as a criminal street gang under Arizona law.
The Gilbert Town Council unanimously voted to create a three-member subcommittee to address the issue of youth violence. Chief Michael Soelberg said during the meeting that police were investigating nine active cases of youth violence, one more than reported a day earlier.
Five arrests were announced in connection with violent attacks on minors in the East Valley.
In one case, Jacob Pennington, 20, of Gilbert was arrested for his involvement in the Nov. 18, 2023, attack in San Tan Valley. Pennington said in a post-arrest interview he was associated with the Gilbert Goons, according to a probable cause statement. It was the first connection announced by police between the Gilbert Goons and the violent attacks.
In a separate case, Christopher Fantastic, 18, Aris Arredondo, 18, and two 16-year-olds were arrested on aggravated robbery and aggravated assault charges for the Aug. 18, 2023, attack outside the In-N-Out Burger on Market Street in Gilbert.
The Gilbert Police Department asked for the public’s help in identifying suspects in five youth violence cases. Police released photos and more information on those cases, two of which were reopened while three others were previously unreported.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the May 29, 2023, assault on a minor in Mesa near Val Vista Drive and Pueblo Avenue. The incident was reported to the Mesa Police Department by the victim’s stepfather a week before the arrest.
Garrett Bagshaw, 18, was arrested in connection with the Nov. 18, 2023, attack on a 16-year-old boy near Wagon Wheel Road and Sun Dance Drive in San Tan Valley. It was the second arrest in the case.
Christopher Fantastic, already in custody for the Aug. 18, 2023, attack in Gilbert, was arrested for aggravated assault in the May 29, 2023, incident near Val Vista Drive and Pueblo Avenue in Mesa.
Kyler Renner, 18, was arrested in connection with two 2022 assaults, one from Nov. 22 near Higley and Riggs roads and one from Dec. 3 at a downtown Gilbert parking garage. Gage Garrison, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old were also arrested in connection with the parking garage attack.
A second suspect, an unnamed 17-year-old, was arrested in connection with the Nov. 22, 2022, assault near Higley and Riggs roads.
Deleon Haynes, 19, and an unnamed 17-year-old were arrested for their alleged roles in the Aug. 18, 2023, assault In-N-Out Burger parking lot assault in Gilbert. Four people were previously arrested for the same incident.
Jacob Pennington, 20, William Owen Hines, 18, and a 17-year-old were arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault for their roles in a Dec. 2, 2022, incident near Williams Field Road and Market Street.
The same 17-year-old was also arrested in connection with a Dec. 3, 2022, assault in a parking garage near Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue in downtown Gilbert.
Hines and the 17-year-old were also arrested in connection with an assault outside a residence near Higley and Riggs roads on Nov. 22, 2022.
Two Gilbert youth violence suspects were indicted on assault charges in a pair of incidents that were previously unreported.
William Owen Hines, 18, was indicted on one count of vehicular aggravated assault in connection with an incident from July 6, 2023, that left a victim injured.
The other suspect indicted was 18-year-old Noah Lee Pennington, who faces two counts of aggravated assault and one count of disorderly conduct. His incident is said to have occurred in Gilbert on Dec. 16, 2022.
The parents of Preston Lord broke their silence on their son’s death, releasing a statement.
“The loss of our son is impossible to bear, and we understand that there is work to be done to achieve justice for Preston,” Lord’s parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, said.
“We are exercising patience to ensure the best possible outcome and ask members of the community and the media to do the same.”
Gage Garrison, 19, and Cody Kostoryz, 18, were arrested on assault and burglary charges in connection with a Dec. 17, 2022, incident near Higley and Elliot roads. Garrison had previously been arrested for the Dec. 3, 2022, attack.
Police also submitted longform charges against 18-year-old Nolan Russell, who lives out of state.
The Mesa Police Department asked for the public’s help in identifying a third suspect in a 2023 Mesa youth violence case.
Christopher Fantastic, 18, and a 17-year-old were already arrested in the case.
A 17-year-old girl was arrested in connection with a September 2023 assault.
The suspect is facing one count of aggravated robbery, one count of assault and one count of disorderly conduct.
This story was originally published Jan. 12, 2024, and is being updated with new developments.