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Amy Forliti, Associated Press, Published September 04 2012

Man allegedly rapes 4 teens during standoff

MINNEAPOLIS – A party at a suburban St. Paul motel turned violent last week when a man held multiple people hostage and raped four teenage girls at gunpoint, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Demetrius Santreell Ballinger, 25, of Stillwater, was charged with 27 felony counts, including attempted murder, criminal sexual assault, aggravated robbery and other charges.

The criminal complaint, filed Tuesday in Washington County, also says Ballinger tried to shoot a man who attempted to leave.

That man was fatally shot by police outside the motel room; the shooting is being investigated.

According to the complaint, Ballinger, five other adults and six juveniles were in Room 217 at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury early Friday.

Fred Fink Jr., the criminal division chief in the Washington County attorney’s office, said the group had gathered for a party, and events went “way south.”

At one point, Ballinger got frustrated with something and pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, the complaint said. He then threatened to shoot everyone and ordered them to “empty your pockets, give me your money and your cellphones,” the complaint said.

One of the females dialed 911 as she threw her cellphone on the floor – creating an open line for dispatchers.

Woodbury Police Chief Lee Vague said Friday that during that call, the dispatcher heard obvious signs of a struggle.

Police arrived to find that Ballinger was holding 11 people at gunpoint, the complaint said. Officers announced themselves, looked into the window and saw Ballinger holding a handgun.

“The defendant turned and pointed the handgun directly at one of the officers,” the complaint said.

Nineteen-year-old Mark Eric Henderson of St. Paul saw a chance to leave the room, the complaint said, and as he did, Ballinger fired at Henderson.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said officers heard a gunshot as the door opened and they fired at Henderson as he came toward them. Police believed Henderson had a weapon and they fired after he refused officers’ commands, the BCA said.

Henderson was unarmed and died at Regions Hospital.

Shortly after Henderson left, Ballinger ordered the teenage girls into the bathroom and made them undress, the complaint said. He then sodomized a 15-year-old and raped three 16-year-olds at gunpoint.

“The male victims being held in the room pled with the defendant to stop the sexual assault, but the defendant refused to listen,” the complaint said.

Washington County SWAT negotiators talked with Ballinger for more than four hours before he surrendered.

Ballinger was in court Tuesday and was appointed a public defender, but a specific attorney had not yet been assigned. Bail was set at $1 million.

According to the complaint, Ballinger admitted he fired the gun at Henderson with the intent of hitting him, and that he held 11 people hostage and took their property at gunpoint.

The complaint said he also admitted he raped the teens, saying he knew he’d be arrested so he “might as well get some.”

Fink said authorities were still trying to determine why Ballinger became frustrated in the first place.

Ballinger has a criminal record that includes a 2011 conviction for felony domestic assault – punching his girlfriend in the head several times. He also has prior domestic assault convictions from 2009 and misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

The three officers who fired their weapons were put on paid administrative leave, which is standard. The officers have been identified as Anthony Ofstead, an 11-year veteran; Stacy Krech, with the department five years; and Natalie Martin, with the department two years.

Authorities have been called to the Red Roof Inn, located just off of Interstate 494, more than 130 times this year for incidents including underage consumption, disturbing the peace, drug possession and domestic assault. In August alone, police were called to the motel more than two dozen times, according to a log of calls for service.

Messages left with the motel’s manager have not been returned to The Associated Press.

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