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No Charges For Police Who Fatally Shot Teenage Hostage

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(credit: Tawana Henderson)

(credit: Tawana Henderson)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A grand jury declined to issue an indictment Thursday in connection to the officer-involved shooting that killed an unarmed St. Paul teenager last August as he tried to flee a gunman who was holding several others hostage in a Woodbury hotel.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced the decision of the grand jury, which was out of Washington County, Thursday afternoon.

The grand jury review stems from the death of 19-year-old Mark Eric Henderson, who was shot on Aug. 31, 2012, by three Woodbury Police officers. Henderson suffered multiple gunshot wounds while running from a hotel room in the Woodbury Red Roof Inn, where Demetrius Santrell Ballinger, 24, of Stillwater, was holding 10 others hostage. Ballinger allegedly shot at Henderson as he fled.

Ballinger is charged with 27 counts in Washington County, including attempted murder, criminal sexual conduct, aggravated robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Since Washington County is prosecuting Ballinger, it conflicted the officer-involved shooting investigation to Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, a press release said.

In officer-involved shootings that end in death, it is standard procedure to present the case to a grand jury. The jury, which consists of 23 people, must have 12 members in agreement before making a decision.

Minnesota law secures that grand jury proceeding are secret, and not made available to the public.

The lawyer for Henderson’s mother said the decision was another tough situation for the grieving family.

“What they know is that their son…was the one that got killed,” the lawyer said.

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