Man charged with murder after body found in snowbank in Inver Grove Heights

A 42-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with second-degree murder after a man was found dead in a snowbank in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota earlier this week, according to the Dakota County Attorney's Office.

Gabriel Alfonso Sanchez Cruz is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, on Monday at 8 a.m. Inver Grove Heights police responded to a report of a man found dead in a snowbank. The man, later identified as Bryan Lutgens, had a gunshot wound to the head. Lutgens died one day before his 40th birthday.

Officers learned Sunday night Lutgens had been driving around in a rental Jeep. On Wednesday, the rental company used their tracking system and determined the vehicle was in Minneapolis. Officers found the vehicle and tried to stop it, but a short chase occurred. After the Jeep crashed, three people tried to run away. The driver was identified as Cruz.

At one point, a gun was tossed from the Jeep. Police found the gun and discovered it was the same caliber used in Lutgen's death.

According to the charges, investigators then spoke with a witness who saw both Cruz and Lutgens on Sunday night. The witness told police the two men met up after Cruz learned Lutgens might have some methamphetamine. When Cruz returned from the meetup, Cruz confessed to the witness that he pulled out a gun to rob Lutgens and tried to take Lutgen's backpack, but when Lutgens fell into the snow, Cruz shot Lutgens, took his items and left.

Cruz faces up to 40 years in prison. He is in custody at the Dakota County Jail.