Third teen charged for deadly Inver Grove Heights party bus shooting

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced April 16 that a third teen had been charged in connection with the deadly shooting that took place outside an Inver Grove Heights movie theater last month as young men departed from a party bus.

A 16-year-old boy from St. Paul has been charged with first-degree riot and second-degree assault in relation to the shooting that took place early March 24, resulting in the death of 19-year-old Billy Ray Robles of St. Paul. The just-charged 16-year-old was shot in the ankle during the incident. 

According to a press release from the county attorney’s office, a motion has been filed to prosecute the 16-year-old as an adult. This is the third teenager charged in connection with the case, and similar motions have been filed for the other two teens.

Previously, a 17-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy were charged with the same crimes. The 17-year-old has yet to be arrested — there is a warrant out for his arrest.

The most recently charged teen fled the scene prior to police arriving; he was later stopped in a car and then transported to Regions Hospital for treatment of his wound. The press release states he was charged on April 11, arrested April 12 and made his first court appearance April 13. 

 

Party turns violent

In the early morning hours of March 24, police were dispatched to the parking lot of the AMC Theatre in Inver Grove Heights on a report of a fight and shots fired. When officers arrived, they were directed to a party bus where officers located a man who’d been shot twice. This man was identified as Robles, who was pronounced dead after being transported to Regions. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the chest. 

Some witnesses reported more than 40 people had left the scene prior to the arrival of police.

While officers were investigating the scene, they were advised that a Lakeville officer working a DWI detail stopped a vehicle at Highway 52 on Butler Avenue for speeding. A passenger in the stopped vehicle was discovered to be the boy with a gunshot wound to his ankle.

While being interviewed, the boy said he was on the party bus that had two groups on it, which he described as the “east side” and “west side” groups. He was part of the west side group. 

He told police the two groups had been arguing throughout the night, and once off the bus, the west side group started chasing the other group. He saw two members of the east side group turn and start shooting guns at the west siders. 

As he was walking to a car to leave, he was shot in the ankle. 

A witness told police they saw this suspect fall to the ground, and then pull out a gun and fire it three times towards the man shooting at him. According to the juvenile petition, detectives obtained cellphone video from someone present during the incident that showed the boy holding a handgun. 

Backstrom said in the press release that the investigation into the matter is ongoing with the goal of identifying all individuals involved, as well as who fired the fatal shot that killed Robles. Additional charges related to the case are possible. 

 

Hannah Burlingame

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