Final suspect arrested in hit-and-run death of teen

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ANDOVER, Minn. - Anoka County authorities have arrested the final suspect in the hit-and-run death of a 17-year-old in Andover that is being called a case of homicide.

Commander Paul Sommer says 19-year-old Loren Gafner, the suspected driver in the fatal hit-and-run, had sought refuge from authorities at a house in Isanti County, but when the homeowner realized the teen was a fugitive from justice that person called 911. Gafner fled the residence, and a state trooper responding to the call saw him walking down the road. When the trooper made eye contact Gafner ran into the woods, a perimeter was set up, and the suspect was eventually taken into custody with help from a Ramsey County K-9 officer.  

The suspected hit-and-run vehicle was recovered approximately five miles away, parked off the road on a property near Bradford.  

 

 

Tristan Robinson of Nowthen was fatally struck by a car on the evening of Nov. 10. On Sunday, Nov. 12, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said their investigation has shown that the driver intentionally struck Robinson. They are now classifying the case as second-degree murder.

According to the sheriff's office, three people conspired to rob Robinson at the location, on 141st Lane NW, and in the process, ran over and killed him with a vehicle.

"The hopeful gain from that robbery would have been a small amount of marijuana," said Cdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office. "Allegedly what happened is the three suspects conspired to steal this marijuana from Mr. Robinson. They met up with him using a social media app called Snapchat."

On Sunday morning, authorities said a juvenile male from St. Francis was in custody. They were seeking two other suspects, and Sunday evening, they said one of those suspects had been arrested -- a 17-year-old male. Gafner was the third and final suspect.

"There's no words to describe the tragedy that we see here today," Sommer said. 

Robinson was a student at Andover High School. Kari Lund, Robinson's aunt, said her nephew was an aspiring rapper who planned on pursuing his dreams in California. "He really loved his baby sister, Lilly, and he was a mama's boy," Lund said in a text message. 

His aunt said Robinson's nickname was "Bubba" and he loved hanging out with friends riding four-wheelers, fishing, skateboarding and fashion. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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