Billy Robles, a 19-year-old from St. Paul who rapped under the moniker BillyThaKidd, was shot and killed early Saturday morning after a fight broke out on a party bus in suburban Inver Grove Heights.
The bus was stopped in the parking lot of an AMC theater there to allow riders to retrieve their cars, but a fight broke out between two groups of bus partiers. Robles' cousin, Darleen Tareeq, tells the Pioneer Press she's heard from other family members that Robles was "trying to break up the fight" when he was shot.
Another man sustained "facial injuries" during the incident, and a juvenile male was later treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Both he and Robles were transported to Regions Hospital, where Robles was declared dead.
Robles attended Humboldt High School, the smallest public high school in St. Paul, and played on the school's football and baseball teams. He grew up with "nine brothers and sisters," according to Tareeq, who says the big family meant that he was "always the caretaker."
In Youtube videos dating back to 2014, Robles had rapped as BillyThaKidd, appearing in amateur productions that feature large groups of young men, with Robles often at the center. Robles rapped about growing up in poverty, loyalty, and violence. Guns appear in some videos, though only briefly, and not in Robles' hands.
Tareeq made the point that in dying Saturday morning, Robles became a victim of gun violence on the same day millions of Americans participated in "March for our Lives" rallies across the country.
"Today we marched against gun violence," she told the Pioneer Press, "and my baby cousin lost his life to gun violence."
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family pay funeral and burial expenses.
Inver Grove Heights police, who responded to the scene with the aid of eight other law enforcement agencies, are taking tips about Robles' shooting at 651-450-2525.
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