Gilbert Police Investigation Into Brutal Beating at In-N-Out Lacked Results

GILBERT, Ariz. – A brutal beating that took place outside a Gilbert In-N-Out in August led to an inactive investigation by the police department. According to Gilbert police records, the name of one suspect was known for months before any arrests were made in connection to the assault.

Six suspects have been arrested so far, all within the current month, despite the assault taking place on Aug. 18, 2023. The case was initially inactivated by October 2 but was reopened in December following public pressure.

The victim’s father, Rick Kuehner, expressed frustration with the delay in justice for his son, who was forced to leave the country to live with his mother due to the lack of arrests and accountability in the case. The brutal beating was captured on camera, showing the teenager being assaulted by a group of assailants in the In-N-Out parking lot at San Tan Village. His shoes were stolen, leaving him bloodied.

Kuehner and his son reported to the Gilbert PD that the teenager had been receiving threats leading up to the assault, providing threatening photos sent through social media. Additionally, they provided the police with the name of an alleged attacker, as well as the names and contact information of witnesses.

The case was suspended on Oct. 2 due to a lack of leads on suspects, despite the victim naming a suspect and providing video evidence of the attack to the police.

In December, the case was reopened, leading to interviews with new individuals and re-interviews with subjects. Screenshots from the video of the attack were posted on social media, resulting in valuable tips from the public.

Further scrutiny of the police report revealed missed opportunities in the initial investigation, where pertinent information such as screenshots of threatening Snapchat messages and witness information provided by Kuehner and his son were not adequately followed up on by the police. The lack of action on reported social media threats and a visit to the victim’s home four days prior to the assault raised concerns about the thoroughness of the initial investigation.

As a weekly press conference with Gilbert’s police chief loomed, questions were raised regarding the handling of the case, leaving the victims and their families frustrated with the slow progress of the investigation.

In conclusion, the delayed and seemingly inadequate response from the Gilbert Police Department has brought to light concerns about the thoroughness and efficiency of investigating cases of violent assaults, leaving victims and their families seeking justice and accountability.