Party bus gathering turns deadly in Inver Grove Heights

Police still searching for suspect

A fight between two groups of men on a party bus turned deadly in the early morning hours of March 24 outside an Inver Grove Heights AMC movie theater.

According to police, Billy Ray Robles, 19, of St. Paul, died after being shot during the fight.

Inver Grove Heights police Chief Paul Schnell said March 26 there had been no arrests and no new information related to the shooting.

According to a police press release, around 1:30 a.m., Inver Grove Heights officers were called to the parking lot of the theater located at 5567 Bishop Avenue on the report of a fight and shots fired. When officers arrived, they encountered what was described as a chaotic scene involving 40 to 50 people in the parking lot where the bus was dropping off partygoers. 

As officers from various law enforcement agencies worked to secure the scene and search for suspects, they found an unresponsive man with a gunshot wound. They also located another man who suffered facial injuries after being assaulted. Both men were transported to Regions Hospital, where the man who had been shot was pronounced dead; he was later identified as Robles. 

Shortly after the original fight call was broadcast, a vehicle speeding northbound on Highway 52, near Butler Avenue in West St. Paul, was stopped by officers. A juvenile man with a gunshot wound that was not life-threatening to a lower extremity was inside the car. He was transported to Regions for treatment.

According to the release, preliminary information indicates all the men involved had been together on the party bus. Witnesses reported the bus picked up the party attendees in the AMC parking lot between 10 and 11 p.m. The fight and shooting occurred as the party bus was dropping people off back at the parking lot. 

Despite a search of the area, which included police K-9 and a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter, the suspect or suspects were not immediately identified or located. The motive for the fight and subsequent shooting has not been determined. 

Agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and investigators from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office are assisting the Inver Grove Heights Police Department with the investigation. 

Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect or suspects is asked to call Inver Grove Heights Police at 651-450-2525.

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