INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — A melting snowbank in a theatre parking lot is now a memorial to the latest victim of gun violence.
“I got a call from my sister who said, ‘Billy’s been shot, Billy’s been shot,'” Amanda Johnson tearfully recalls.
She is the aunt of 19-year-old Billy Ray Robles, who was aboard the party bus crowded with 40 others. Teens and adults were all out celebrating a friend’s birthday on Friday night.
“There was an argument on the bus, a fight on the bus and he was trying to deescalate the situation, trying to get in the middle and he got shot,” Johnson said.
As people were getting off the bus in this theatre parking lot, two groups began fighting.
“When the gun shots erupted some people hit the ground, they began to run. Had they been contained inside that bus, this could have been a very different set of circumstances,” says Inver Grove Heights police chief, Paul Schnell.
Investigators are still searching for a motive to the fatal shooting as well as whoever fired the shots. In addition to the killing of Robles, a shot wounded another teen in the leg. A third victim suffered severe head wounds during the altercation.
“There were numerous shots fired, a number of cars that were just parked up there were hit as well,” Chief Schnell said.
Amanda Johnson says her nephew was a talented musician, rapper and a kind-hearted soul. A man with a bright future who instead was sadly silenced by a teen with a gun.
“What is a 16-year-old doing on a bus, a party bus at that, at that time of night with a gun?” Johnson said.
She now remembers Robles with tears and candles, in the spot where a night of fun so senselessly turned fatal.
“It just isn’t going to stop, it’s got to stop, it really does,” said Johnson.
Anyone with information on those responsible should call Inver Grove Heights Police at (651) 450-2525.