Inver Grove Heights party bus killing leads to charges against two teens

Two teenagers have been charged in connection with the March 24 fight and shootings outside an Inver Grove Heights AMC Theatre that left one dead and another injured.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced March 28 that a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, who were both arrested March 27 in relation to the theater altercation, had been charged with first-degree riot and second-degree assault. 

The charges stem from the shootings that killed 19-year-old Billy Ray Robles of St. Paul, and injured a second young person who was shot in the ankle.

According to a news release from the county attorney’s office, motions have been filed so that both teenage boys can be prosecuted as adults.

Around 1:30 a.m. on March 24, according to the release, Inver Grove Heights police were dispatched to the parking lot of the AMC Theatre in the 5500 block of Bishop Avenue on a report of a fight and shots fired. 

Upon arrival, officers located a man, later identified as Robles, who had been shot twice. He was transported to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to his chest.

According to the release, the investigation determined a large number of people spent the night on a party bus that had departed earlier from the parking lot. Some of the individuals were members of what were described as “east side” and “west side” groups. The groups argued throughout the night while on the bus. 

When the bus returned to the theater parking lot, the groups exited, and witnesses said the west site group started chasing the other group. One witness said two members of the east side group fired guns in the direction of the west side group.

This witness was shot in the ankle while walking towards a car. He left the scene prior to police arriving, but police stopped the vehicle he was riding in on Highway 52 near Butler Avenue. The witness was transported to Regions Hospital for treatment before being released.

Another witness said he saw one of the boys who was charged allegedly shoot towards the west side group. Through witness statements, the boys who allegedly fired the guns were identified. 

A third witness said himself, the second witness, Robles and a couple of other young people chased members of the east side group through the parking lot. As they were chasing the group, one of the members started shooting towards them. 

“This is another example of the senseless and tragic loss of life from gun violence in our community. It is extremely disturbing to see juveniles possessing and using firearms in this manner,” Backstrom said in the release. 


— Hannah Burlingame

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