INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (KMSP) - Police arrested a 16-year-old boy Monday in connection with a fatal shooting on a party bus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota over the weekend.
The shooting occurred around 1:32 a.m. Saturday morning when the party bus returned to the AMC Theatre parking lot. When officers arrived, they encountered a “chaotic scene” of 40 to 50 people.
The fight and shooting followed an argument between two groups of teenagers and young men on the party bus, according to police. Bill Ray Robles, 19, was shot and killed. Family members described him as an aspiring rapper and former high school football player.
“He was an innocent victim,” said Alexis Clardy, Robles' girlfriend. “He just wanted to break everything up so we could all have a good time. He didn’t want this to happen.”
Clardy told Fox 9 she recalls holding Robles on the ground in a frantic scene, knowing the 19-year-old might not survive a gunshot wound to his chest.
“I wouldn’t let go of him,” said Clardy. “I wouldn’t want to wish it upon anyone. It’s so hard. But he knows I loved him. I held him the whole time.”
Investigators say the violence broke out as the teens exited the bus at the end of the night. The Inver Grove Police Chief says loose talk of rival gang affiliation may have been a catalyst.
“One young man was assaulted,” said Chief Paul Schnell. “Punched numerous times. That prompted the fight. Ended up erupting in gunshots being fired. All that in the parking lot.”
Clardy says she was not entirely sure what the fight was about, saying someone was “being funny, trying to rob people.”
“Why are kids running around with guns?” said Melissa Johnson, Robles mother. “A 16-year-old running around with a gun. If nothing else, let this be a lesson to somebody out there. Stop.”
Johnson says she is relieved to hear about an arrest and hopes other witnesses on the bus will come forward to help fill in the holes.
Inver Grove Heights police say they are still searching for at least one more person of interest, who they believe exchanged gunfire during the incident.
“Two lives are gone now,” said Johnson. “My son who I will never see again. His brothers and sisters will never see him again. And a 16-year-old, who will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Because of what an altercation? An argument? Something stupid. Something minor.”
The 16-year old suspect has not been charged at this point.
Two others were injured in the incident. One boy suffered facial fracture from being physically assaulted while another suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the foot. Both victims were treated and released.
For more information about Billy Robles and fundraising efforts for a burial fund, click here.
Investigators are working to identify and talk to all the people present at the time of the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call the Inver Grove Heights Police Department.