Officials are treating a fatal car collision in Andover as a homicide rather than the hit-and-run accident they at first thought it was.
A car struck Tristan Gene Robinson, 17, on Friday about 6:20 p.m. in the 700 block of 141st Avenue NW. Robinson, of Nowthen, died at the scene.
“This was not a road and driving mishap as it was originally reported,” said Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Paul Sommer. “What has come to light is that it was a purposeful act perpetuated as part of a robbery scheme.”
An investigation showed that the vehicle, occupied by three teens, ran over Robinson as part of a plot to rob him of a small amount of marijuana.
The trio initially planned to meet up with Robinson to purchase marijuana after communicating via Snapchat, Sommer said.
Sommer said he didn’t know whether the robbery had already happened when Robinson was hit.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a unique situation when you have people in this age group who don’t seem to attach any consequences to their actions,” Sommer said at a Sunday afternoon news conference. “It’s tragic.”
Two juvenile suspects are in custody.
The other suspect, an adult, has access to a handgun, Sommer said, and shouldn’t be approached. Anyone who is harboring him could be charged with aiding and abetting.
The suspect vehicle is a 2005 gray Mercury Montego with front-end damage and the Minnesota license plates 450 NMR.
No charges have yet been filed, Sommer said, though his office is pursuing the incident as a second-degree murder and robbery case.
Several details about the incident came from the teenagers’ classmates, Sommer said.
Robinson’s mother, Angel Westerberg, said her son was “a kid with the biggest heart,” and had many friends. She did not know the people who allegedly hit him.
A talented rapper who loved music, he also delighted in fishing and four-wheeling at his grandparents’ home, Westerberg said. “I need justice for my sweet Tristan,” Westerberg said. “He was my whole world.”
Anyone with additional information should call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office at 763-427-1212.
Erin Adler • 612-673-1781