St. Paul woman in custody after holding four people hostage at gas station

The suspect's mother said her daughter may be using mushrooms and had gotten into "witchcraft and spiritual stuff."

Kanisha Deon Wiggins

A St. Paul woman is now in police custody after holding four people hostage at a gas station.

On Tuesday afternoon 31-year-old Kanisha Deon Wiggins, armed with a gun, threatened and held up four people inside a Speedway on the city’s East Side, at the intersection of Johnson Parkway and Seventh Street East.

According to a city report, the hostage situation lasted slightly more than one hour. It came to an end when Wiggins sent one of the hostages out to her car to retrieve her phone so she could livestream her crimes to Facebook. Instead, the hostage “sprinted like I’ve never sprinted in my life.”

At this point, officers heard at least one gunshot inside the Speedway, whereupon the SWAT team “made an emergency entry to rescue hostages and render aid to any victims.”

Wiggins had discharged one round into the air and ordered one of the hostages to “lay down as if he had been hit by the bullet.”

No one was injured in the hostage scene. Wiggins is now facing four felony counts of kidnapping.

“Officers attempted to negotiate with Wiggins over the phone and public address system. She was demanding to speak to her father in ‘federal prison,'” reads a criminal complaint. “She said that if she was not allowed to speak with him, she was going to shoot hostages. She stated that she was going to send a hostage out to get her (Wiggins’) phone out of her car and if the hostage did not return, she was going to shoot the other hostages.”

Wiggins reportedly claimed that her father was “falsely imprisoned.” However, police spoke with the woman’s mother and she said Wiggins’ father “is sitting right next to me.”

The complaint also attests to Wiggins’ possible mental instability.

“[Wiggins’ mother] said her daughter has never been diagnosed with a mental illness, but she has been acting strangely since she returned from Tennessee in December 2021,” the document says. “She said that she had to call the police recently because her daughter believed someone was trying to poison her brother.”

“She added that her daughter ‘drinks a lot,’ and may be using ‘mushrooms.’ She said that he daughter had gotten into ‘witchcraft and spiritual stuff.'”

To that end, Senior Judge Janet N. Poston has ordered Wiggins to undergo a mental competency evaluation before her trial. The order was filed on the grounds that she may lack “sufficient ability to consult with a reasonable degree of rational understanding with defense counsel.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.