College security guard shoots himself, blames fictional Black man

Brent Ahlers

Brent Ahlers

A USA college campus security guard accidentally shot himself and made up a story about a non-existent black gunman to hide the blunder, police say.

Police said Ahlers told them the gun fired accidentally in the woods and he was afraid of getting fired for bringing his personal gun to work.

St. Paul Police Department officer Mike Ernester said the false shooting report created tension and concern on the university premises.

The security guard told officers that he was shot by the stranger.

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"It had residents of the Mac-Groveland and Highland Park communities fearful that a suspect was on the loose and they could be victimized at any moment", Ernster said. St. Catherine placed Ahlers on paid leave of absence September 13 during the investigation for the alleged shooter.

The campus of St. Catherine University, however, was still put on lockdown for hours as 55 police officers, four K-9 units and Minnesota State Patrol aircraft searched for the alleged suspect.

After the search failed to find any suspect, Mr Ahlers admitted to police he had accidentally shot himself, said officials.

The search was called off shortly after midnight, and the next day Ahlers admitted to making up the story that someone else had shot him because he feared he would lose his job.

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The president of the St. Paul NAACP told the Star Tribune, "that's what black people live with".

"While we are distressed and saddened that this incident occurred", the president's statement continued, "we are relieved that no other members of the community were injured".

Ahlers was only booked on the misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where he was treated for a shoulder wound and released. Firearms are prohibited on campus and are not carried or issued by St. Catherine Public Safety staff. "When information is validated by multiple independent sources. then it becomes more of a valid description", he said.

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