A white university security guard said he was shot by a black man, but later told police he had shot himself.
Earlier this week, the security guard, Brent Ahlers, was working a night shift at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN when his handgun accidentally discharged, hitting him in the shoulder, The Washington Post reported.
But that’s not what he told police officers.
The university does not usually arm its security guards, and Ahlers was afraid that he would get in trouble if his employers knew he had brought a weapon on the job. So he told police that he was “shot by a black man with a ‘short Afro’ who was wearing a navy sweatshirt.”
As Ahlers was taken to a hospital, police sent 55 officers, four dogs and patrol aircraft on a manhunt around the campus.
Naturally, the investigation didn’t turn up much, with the St. Paul Police eventually saying on September 13 that there was no threat and the investigation had concluded.
UPDATE on St. Kate's shooting: Search has concluded; no suspect located. Investigation ongoing. Updates, if available, will be tweeted.
— St. Paul Police PIO (@sppdPIO) September 13, 2017
Police then interviewed Ahlers, who began to retract his original story. He was arrested and charged with falsely reporting a crime. Ahlers was released on September 14 from Ramsey County Jail, but has an arraignment scheduled for October 31.
The president of the university issued a statement condemning the racism Ahlers tried to use to avoid penalty.
“I want to be clear that St. Catherine University strongly condemns racial discrimination, racial stereotyping, and racial profiling of any kind,” the statement read. “The statements attributed to the former employee concerning the race of an alleged suspect are deeply troubling and do not reflect our values.”
“That’s what black people live with,” Dianne Binns, president of the St. Paul NAACP, said to the Star Tribune. “We’ve been lynched, and we’ve been put in jail to find out later you haven’t done it. That’s the sad thing about it. It hasn’t stopped.”