Published January 24 2013
No charges against police in Woodbury motel deathMINNEAPOLIS — Three Woodbury police officers won't be indicted in last summer's fatal shooting of a 19-year-old who was trying to flee a hostage situation at a motel, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Mark Henderson, 19, of St. Paul, was shot by police last August, after officers responded to the hostage incident at the Red Roof Inn.
Authorities have said Henderson and others were being held in a motel room by Demetrius Santrell Ballinger, 25, when Henderson tried to escape. A criminal complaint against Ballinger says he 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 has said.
Henderson was unarmed. He died at Regions Hospital.
The three officers who fired their weapons have been on paid administrative leave. It was unclear if Anthony Ofstead, Stacy Krech, and Natalie Martin would return to duty immediately. Woodbury's police chief did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office announced results of a grand jury investigation Thursday. Prosecutors in Ramsey County handled the matter to avoid a conflict of interest.
Ballinger, of Stillwater, faces 27 counts including attempted murder and criminal sexual assault. Authorities say a group of adults and juveniles were at a party in the motel room when it turned violent. Ballinger held 11 others hostage and raped four teenage girls at gunpoint, according to the complaint.
Washington County SWAT negotiators talked with Ballinger for more than four hours before he surrendered.