GILBERT, Ariz. – Court paperwork remains sealed in the August In-N-Out assault in Gilbert. So far, two 18-year-olds and two 16-year-olds have been arrested. The victim is a 16-year-old, who was brutally beaten and suffered several injuries.
We first spoke with the victim’s father in December 2023. At the time, Richard Kuehner said his son suffered internal kidney damage following an attack at a parking lot near a fast food eatery, and blood could be seen coming out of his mouth. Following the attack, Kuehner withdrew his son from school, and sent him to live with his mother overseas.
The victim’s mother, who lives in another country, got the phone call no parent wants to hear: her son was in the emergency room.
“It was just so overwhelming,” said the mother. “It was like a tsunami wave that truly just rocked our world, and we’re still trying to, like, come out of it.”
The woman said she found out later that a group of adults and teens attacked her son and recorded it.
“At that time when the assault was reported, there was little to no investigation performed, despite quite a bit of evidence provided at that time,” said the woman.
The case was closed, but was subsequently reopened.
“Innocent victims that have been attacked have kind of just come forward, and it just raised awareness,” said the woman. “I think it may have put pressure on the police department to take initiative and reopen these cases that, quite frankly, should never have been closed.”
This week, police arrested two 16-year-olds, 18-year-old Christopher Fantastic, and 18-year-old Aris Arredondo, who had his initial appearance in court on January 11.
“The victim had little way to defend himself as he was at one point prone on the ground and surrounded by Mr. Arredondo and the codefendant,” said a prosecutor.
Court documents are sealed, but the judge says Gilbert Police are accusing Arredondo and Fantastic of being associated with the group that has been involved in similar targeted assaults.
“They did not choose to provide any of the information that they may have to support the allegation that you are in that group. That does not mean they don’t have any. It just means that they did not wish at this time to tell the court what it is.”
Bonds were set at $25,000 for Arredondo and Fantastic. All are accused of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault.
As for the 16-year-old victim, his mother says she is keeping a close eye on him, knowing he faces psychological and emotional trauma.
“We need to do something about it, not give these individuals an opportunity to look around at their next victim,” she said. “When you’ve got hundreds of other classmates just walking, you know, walking around on campus and have no idea that you have these parasites that are lurking, that are looking to see ‘who am I going to wreak havoc on today?’”
Arredondo was released on bail and is wearing an ankle monitor. Fantastic remains in jail.