ARIZONA NEWS

Gilbert Goons are officially designated as a criminal street gang

May 2, 2024, 2:33 PM | Updated: May 7, 2024, 7:51 am

PHOENIX — The Gilbert Goons, who have been accused in multiple youth violence cases in the East Valley, were officially classified as a criminal street gang, police leaders announced Thursday.

However, the gang members won’t be charged with criminal street gang offenses in the ongoing cases out of Gilbert, police said during a press conference.

“Detectives have concluded that the group known as the Gilbert Goons has met the requirement to be documented as a criminal street gang as set forth in Arizona revised statutes,” Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg said.

He didn’t answer questions asking when authorities determined the Gilbert Goons qualified as a street gang.

“There is a process to classify someone as a gang and then classify individuals as gang members,” Soelberg said. “We started this investigation in November of 2023 and now, in May, it took roughly six months to conclude this investigation.”

He also didn’t say which suspects have been identified as part of the gang.

Gilbert Goons street gang involved in various youth violence cases

Before revealing the Gilbert Goons’ official new status as a designated street gang, Soelberg discussed Preston Lord, a 16-year-old student from Gilbert who died after a brutal group assault in Queen Creek in October of 2023.

“Preston Lord’s death has highlighted the issues of teen violence that has affected so many of our communities,” Soelberg said. “That is why this has been a unified effort by our respective law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate these group teen violence cases in each of our jurisdictions.”

These group teen violence cases have spurred public inquiry about whether law enforcement agencies should have clamped down on the Gilbert Goons sooner. However, Soelberg and other police leaders explained that classifying a group as a street gang is complicated.

“The simple act of creating a name and calling oneself by that name is not enough in and of itself to qualify for gang status,” Soelberg said.

Authorities described the different types of street gangs, such as hybrid and traditional gangs. The latter refers to more flexible gangs that allow members to be in other gangs. Traditional gangs are typically associated with pride and exclusivity.

“There’s not a different legal classification, versus hybrid, versus traditionally,” Soelberg said. The Gilbert Goons qualify as a hybrid gang.

He wasn’t sure if the official designation of the Gilbert Goons would help prosecutors build up their cases against suspected members.

“We are unable to charge these individuals who are involved in these gangs for additional charges of participating or assisting in a criminal street gang,” he said.

This information has been provided to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which will look at their cases and see how the street gang classification will impact the way the suspects will be prosecuted.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

A 2-year-old boy is in critical condition after a drowning incident in a backyard pool in Phoenix. ...

KTAR.com

2-year-old boy dead after being pulled from Phoenix pool

A 2-year-old boy died after he was pulled from a pool in Phoenix on Wednesday evening. It is unknown how long the child was in the pool.

6 hours ago

Light rail service in Tempe is going to be affected starting next week. (Valley Metro Photo)...

KTAR.com

Light rail track repairs to affect service in Tempe starting next week

Valley Metro Light Rail service will be impacted in two Tempe locations over the next few weeks while track repairs are made.

8 hours ago

Secure the Border Act: Arizona Senate votes to send law to House...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona Senate passes controversial Secure the Border Act

The Arizona Senate voted to pass the Secure the Border Act on May 22, 2024, which sends the controversial law to the Arizona House.

10 hours ago

CD-3 Democratic candidates debate before primary elections...

Serena O'Sullivan

Watch: Arizona Congressional District 3 Democratic primary debate

Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents Congressional District 3, isn't running for reelection. These CD-3 Democratic candidates want his spot.

11 hours ago

CD-3 Republican candidates primary: Watch May 22, 2024 debate...

Serena O'Sullivan

Watch: Arizona Congressional District 3 Republican primary debate

Arizona Congressional District 3 is traditionally Democratic. However, these CD-3 Republican candidates want to flip it from blue to red.

13 hours ago

CD-3 Republican candidates primary: Watch May 22, 2024 debate...

Sponsored Content by

Arizona Congressional District 3 is traditionally Democratic. However, these CD-3 Republican candidates want to flip it from blue to red.

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Gilbert Goons are officially designated as a criminal street gang