Man charged with assault, kidnapping at Burnsville gas station

Ariel Barnett

A 31-year-old Burnsville man was charged Tuesday with two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of kidnapping in connection with taking hostage two Burnsville gas station employees at gunpoint and having a standoff with police Saturday, according to a release from the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.

The following are facts contained in a criminal complaint:

Ariel Luis Barnett entered the Holiday gas station at Nicollet Avenue and Highway 13 on Saturday afternoon armed with a sawed off shotgun.

He fired the gun into the ceiling of the store. One customer who was inside at the time ran out of the building. Barnett ordered his former girlfriend, an employee of the store, and another male employee to call police because he was taking them hostage. Barnett allegedly told both of them that their lives were in danger.

At 6:15 p.m., Burnsville police were dispatched to the scene and surrounded the gas station. Officers contacted Barnett by phone and talked him into first releasing the male employee and eventually to surrender.

Barnett had been in a seven-year relationship with the female victim, and they recently separated after he was incarcerated in Rice County for 53 days on an unrelated matter.

“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.”

Barnett’s next court appearance is at 9 a.m. Oct. 8 in Hastings.  Bail of  $250,000 without conditions ($150,000 with conditions) was set by Dakota County District Court Judge Michael Mayer.