A Burnsville man who allegedly took two employees hostage at a Holiday gas station in Burnsville on Saturday has been charged with second-degree assault and kidnapping.

Ariel L. Barnett, 31, has a lengthy criminal record that includes drug possession, violating an order for protection and terroristic threats. He is still on probation from a 2006 conviction for drugs.

According to the criminal complaint, Barnett had a sawed-off shotgun when he entered the Holiday station at Nicollet Avenue S. and Hwy. 13 about 6:15 p.m. Saturday. One customer in the store ran outside after Barnett fired a shot into the ceiling. He told his former girlfriend, an employee at the store, and her male co-worker to call police because he was taking them hostage. He told both of them their lives were in danger.

Police were able to get Barnett on the phone and talked him into releasing the male hostage, then got him to surrender. Barnett had been in a seven-year relationship with the female employee and they recently separated after he spent 53 days in the Rice County jail, the complaint said.

Barnett’s next court appearance is Oct. 8.

Pat Pheifer