A Burnsville man has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of kidnapping in connection with a hostage standoff at a Holiday gas station last week, and prosecutors say the incident was linked to domestic violence.
"This appears to be another incident of domestic-related violence which escalated into an extremely dangerous hostage situation," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. "Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but the trauma to the victims held at gunpoint was significant."
Ariel Luis Barnett, 31, entered the Holiday gas station at Nicollet Avenue and Highway 13 armed with a sawed off shotgun and fired it into the ceiling at about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. He then ordered his former girlfriend, an employee at the store, and another employee to call police because he was taking them hostage and told them their lives were in danger.
Ultimately, a hostage negotiator with Burnsville police convinced Barnett to release the two hostages, Barnett was arrested and no one was hurt.
Barnett had been in a seven-year relationship with the woman, but they had recently separated after Barnett was placed in jail in Rice County for 53 days on another offense.
Barnett is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 8. His bail was set at $250,000 by Dakota County District Court Judge Michael Mayer.