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Minneapolis man convicted of murder in shooting during drug deal

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A Dakota County jury on Wednesday convicted a Minneapolis man of first-degree and second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting during a January drug deal in Inver Grove Heights.

Prosecutors had earlier charged Gabriel Alfonso Sanchez Cruz, 44, in the Jan. 31 killing of 38-year-old Bryant Jon Lutgens of Burnsville.

Gabriel Alfonso Sanchez Cruz, 42, of Richfield, was arrested Feb. 4, 2021 in Minneapolis and booked into the Dakota County Jail in Hastings on suspicion second-degree murder for the killing of Bryant Jon Lutgens, 39, of Burnsville, in Inver Grove Heights on Feb. 1, 2021. (Courtesy of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office)
Gabriel Alfonso Sanchez Cruz, 42, of Richfield, was arrested Feb. 4, 2021 in Minneapolis and booked into the Dakota County Jail in Hastings on suspicion second-degree murder for the killing of Bryant Jon Lutgens, 39, of Burnsville, in Inver Grove Heights on Feb. 1, 2021. (Courtesy of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

According to a criminal complaint, Lutgens was shot in the head by a drug buyer and left in a snowbank. The shooter then took off in the vehicle Lutgens had been driving. Sanchez Crus was arrested a few days later after he led Minneapolis police on a short chase before crashing Lutgens’ rented vehicle.

The jury in Sanchez Cruz’s trial deliberated about two hours before reaching a verdict. He is being held in the Dakota County Jail pending sentencing on July 12.

Those convicted of first-degree murder could face a life sentence without parole, while those convicted of second-degree murder face up to 40 years in prison.



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