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Queen Creek Mayor condemns attack on Preston Lord, says healing will come with a conviction

No arrests have been made since the attack in October
Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 09:01:56-05

QUEEN CREEK, AZ — Parents in Queen Creek and the surrounding areas are supporting grieving families while also calling for action after separate violent acts left three teens dead. Some stepped up to speak Wednesday at the Queen Creek Town Council meeting.

Queen Creek police are currently investigating the death of Preston Lord. The 16-year-old was assaulted at a Halloween party and later died.

The town’s council meeting began with a moment of silence for Lord before Mayor Julia Wheatley addressed the crowd.

“I absolutely condemn this senseless act,” said Mayor Wheatley.

Queen Creek police have announced that they’ve identified multiple persons of interest, but no arrests have been made.

“I pray for the youth responsible for this heinous act, that one day their hearts can change,” said Mayor Wheatley.

Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice also stepped up to the microphone and gave an update on Lord’s case.

“More than 59 search warrants have been served to date, resulting in extensive amounts of information that must be analyzed and reviewed,” said Chief Brice.

Both Chief Brice and the mayor described Lord’s case as a “top priority.” The two repeatedly said an arrest is not enough.

“We truly heal with that conviction,” said Mayor Wheatley.

The entire council and many community members wore orange to the meeting. Lord’s obituary said it was a color the teen loved.

A few parents stood up and spoke. Many pushed for solutions and a zero-tolerance policy.

This all comes after recent, separate acts of violence nearby that killed one of Lord's classmates and a Casa Grande student.

RELATED: Talking with your teen after string of Valley teen deaths

“I wish there was an easy solution, and there’s not,” said Mayor Wheatley. “It starts in our home.”

As people left the meeting, many told ABC15 it's tough to find peace without answers.

“It’s very hard to wait, you know,” said Gilbert parent Erin Foley. “I go back and forth telling myself justice takes time.”

The FBI is assisting the Queen Creek Police Department with the investigation into Lord’s death.

There is still a $10,000 reward for information.