Group robbed, sexually assaulted near Raspberry Island in St. Paul

St. Paul police are investigating an armed robbery and sexual assault that occurred near Raspberry Island early Tuesday morning.

Police arrested Vershone Hodges, 20; Devontre Vann, 19; Deandray Easley, 18 and a 16-year-old male in connection with the assault.

"The idea that we are here talking about someone who would prey on our youth of our city in such a personal way is unconscionable," said Sgt. Mike Ernster, the St. Paul Police PIO. "This is a disgusting crime. And we as a police department will do everything we can to hold these suspects accountable."

A group of young people were hanging out in the parking lot near the island around 2 a.m. when they were approached by four men. One of the men pulled out a gun and demanded the victims get on the ground and hand over their valuables.

After complying with his demands, two of the women in the group were forced into a nearby car and sexually assaulted by some of the men. The men then fled the area on foot.

One of the victims told police they recognized one of the suspects. 

Three of the suspects were arrested a short time later for an unrelated robbery in West St. Paul. A fourth suspect was arrested around noon. Authorities believe all people involved are now in custody.

The incident remains under investigation.

St. Paul Police say so far this year there have been 87 sexual assaults compared to 70 at this time last year.