By Cambria Schwartz
Within the past year seemingly random and violent attacks have been inflicted on teenagers in the Gilbert area. While the Gilbert Goons have yet to be classified as an official street gang, there is a growing concern amongst parents and authorities. This gang is made up of upper-middle-class young adults and juveniles ranging from ages as young as 14 to over 20.
After the death of Preston Lord in October 2023, law enforcement has cracked down on teen violence and has even re-opened previously closed cases in the event there is a connection between past disturbances and the now-known gang. Lord had been attacked outside of a Halloween party and was transported to the local hospital to be treated, only to die two days later from his injuries. Many locals are afraid for their safety and public officials hope to ease those concerns.
The Gilbert Town Council met on Jan. 9th and came to the unanimous decision to establish a subcommittee tasked with finding solutions to the growing amount of teen violence within the community. The council committee is set to reconvene on Jan. 23rd with the intention of presenting their solution in addressing these acts of terror to the public.
Police and officials encourage anyone with knowledge or first-hand experience with these incidents to come forward in order to help prevent as many future. In a video posted on YouTube by Mesa police, police chief Ken Cost thanks the victims’ families for coming forward and hopes that others can and will do the same. Cost later says, “We still have more to do, and we will not stop until we put everybody in custody that has had anything to do with this case, whether you’re an accomplice or whether you’re helping them, we’re going to come for you.” Cost warns the offending parties that justice will be served, and police are working to make the city safer.
How did this start? It’s likely safe to say that this is a multivariate issue with many potential sources, probably including but not limited to a lack of previous consequences, the desire for social media clout, family status, and general teenage stupidity. This is clearly not child’s play however, and a message should be sent that this will be confronted with the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who these kids’ parents are. Gilbert PD clearly dropped the ball in this regard.
We will be following the council committee meeting and report back with our thoughts and any potential resolutions.