MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 25-year-old Stillwater man was charged Tuesday in connection with the Woodbury hotel standoff last Friday that left one person dead and several others hurt.
Demetrius Santrell Ballinger is facing 27 counts in Washington County Court in connection with the incident. They include attempted murder, criminal sexual conduct, aggravated robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.
According to a criminal complaint, Ballinger was in a hotel room at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 31 with 11 other people, six of them juveniles. Ballinger got frustrated by something when everyone was in the room and he proceeded to pull out a 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun.
Ballinger threatened to shoot everyone in the room and then told them to “empty your pockets, give me your money and your cell phones,” the complaint states. In fear for their lives, the victims complied with his demands.
Fred Fink is the Criminal Division Chief for the Washington County Attorney’s office.
“Fortunately, one young lady had the wits about her to prior to her to tossing her cell phone in with the others, was able to punch up 911, and the police were able to respond,” Fink said.
When authorities arrived to the scene, they learned Ballinger was holding all 11 people inside the room at gunpoint. One of the victims, later identified as Mark Henderson, attempted to flee the room and Ballinger shot at him with the intention to hit him, the complaint states. Henderson was shot and killed by police.
Officers told the BCA that they thought Henderson was armed and “non-compliant with officer commands.” Officers then shot at Henderson.
According to the complaint, Ballinger ordered four juvenile females into the bathroom of the hotel room and take their clothes off. He proceeded to sexually assault the females while holding the gun in his hand. The male victims in the room pleaded with Ballinger to stop the sexual assault, but he refused to listen. Ballinger later told police he knew what was going on so he “might as well get some.”
Police negotiators eventually made contact with Ballinger and negotiated with him for more than four hours before he agreed to release the victims. He admitted to shooting at Henderson, to sexually assaulting the four females and to holding 11 people against their will at gunpoint, the complaint states.
If convicted, Ballinger faces life in prison. Bail was set at one million dollars.