ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s what Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg said about ongoing youth violence investigations

Jan 18, 2024, 4:11 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 10:07 am

Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg gave an update on youth violence cases on Jan. 18, 2024. (You...

Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg gave an update on youth violence cases on Jan. 18, 2024. (YouTube Screenshot)

(YouTube Screenshot)

PHOENIX — Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg assured that the East Valley town was a safe community and said investigations into youth violence continue to progress during a Thursday press conference.

It was Soelberg’s first meeting with the media since youth violence rocked Gilbert and surrounding cities in the past several months, most notably 16-year-old Preston Lord’s death in Queen Creek in October.

“These recent incidents of teen violence have instilled fear and brought forth more questions on how something like this could happen in our town,” Soelberg said. “I want to start with this message to our community: This is one of the safest large cities in the country. And our neighboring communities also boast a high level of community safety.

“That’s what makes these recent acts of teen violence in the East Valley even more shocking.”

What did the Gilbert police chief say about criticism regarding their handling of youth violence cases?

Soelberg’s department has received public backlash for their work on the cases, with some arguing Gilbert Police didn’t do enough to quickly recognize a pattern of youth violence in the town and across the East Valley. A group of suspects that call themselves the Gilbert Goons have been linked to some of the assaults.

Gilbert Police has reopened multiple youth violence cases in the past week, offering up photos of possible subjects and incidents.

Rick Kuehner, the father of a victim of an Aug. 18 beating outside a Gilbert In-N-Out Burger, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Friday that his son’s case fell on deaf ears in the city for far too long.

Four arrests made in the case of Kuehner’s son came last week. Several other cases are fully unsolved despite video evidence, a process that Soelberg said is tedious.

“Researching and verifying authenticity and accuracy of this information takes time, but we are committed to the process of doing this right,” Soelberg said.

What’s next for Gilbert’s youth violence investigations?

Soelberg said 13 arrests related to youth violence were made in the 20 months between February 2022 and Lord’s death.

Nine additional arrests have been made since Jan. 3 and he said that more will come since several investigations remain active.

“My message would be if we can prove charges on you, we will arrest you,” Soelberg said. “Whether it’s us, the county, Queen Creek, Mesa or Chandler, you cannot commit a crime and expect to get away with it.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The two men killed in the crash were both from India and were both 19-years-old, according to Peori...

KTAR.com

2 dead, 2 more hospitalized after crash in Peoria near Lake Pleasant

Two people were killed and two others were hospitalized in a head-on collision in Peoria, near Lake Pleasant, on Saturday night.

5 hours ago

Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on April 21, 2024. The daily average tempe...

KTAR.com

Phoenix records first 100-degree day of 2024

After a wet and cool start to the year, Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on Sunday.

6 hours ago

Carlos Rivas is among the performers for this year's Scottsdale Jazz Festival. (Scottsdale Jazz Fes...

Damon Allred

Sounds of New Orleans hit Old Town for Scottsdale Jazz Festival

The jazz festival billed as "Arizona's Most Beautiful Jazz Event" is coming to the Scottsdale Civic Center in Old Town this week.

8 hours ago

Olivia Gerits (Chandler Police Department)...

KTAR.com

Missing 13-year-old Chandler girl found safe, 21-year-old man detained

A 13-year-old girl who was missing for more than a week was found safe and reunited with her family on Sunday afternoon.

10 hours ago

woman holds money and types into computer...

KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from April 19-21

From freeway construction to street gang indictments, here are the biggest Valley news stories from over the weekend.

10 hours ago

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins is seen walking on the Tucson campus....

Associated Press

Robbins: Fiscal year 2025 UArizona budget deficit may be reduced by $110M

Outgoing University of Arizona president Robbins has announced “encouraging news” about the college’s finances.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Here’s what Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg said about ongoing youth violence investigations