A Security Officer Told Police He Was Shot by a Black Man. Turns Out, He’d Shot Himself

In a dimly lit, wooded area on the southwest side of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., the handgun Brent Ahlers brought to work accidentally discharged, wounding him.

As a security officer at the Catholic university, Ahlers knew the school did not typically arm its personnel, and he feared that bringing his weapon on campus would lead to his firing.

And so, with blood spewing from the gunshot wound to his shoulder, Ahlers crafted a story.

This is all according to St. Paul police, who said that at about 9:30 Tuesday night, Ahlers, who is white, told them that he’d been shot by a black man with a “short Afro” and wearing a navy blue sweatshirt.

Within minutes, 55 officers swarmed the campus, along with four police dogs and a State Patrol aircraft to search for the suspect.

Ahlers was taken to the hospital and released, according to a statement posted on the St. Catherine website. He is expected to make a full recovery.

At a news conference, police spokesman Mike Ernster said the campus had been on lockdown with “1,800 students held captive in their dorm rooms.” Neighborhood residents, shaken by reports of a gunman at large, asked police officers to check their houses.

Just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, a tweet from the St. Paul Police public information office offered scant reassurance: “UPDATE on St. Kate’s shooting: Search has concluded; no suspect located. Investigation ongoing.”

Over the course of that day, just how little of a threat there was would come clearer into view as police interviewed Ahlers, who was allegedly recanting his tale.

“He was nervous about losing his job due to the fact that he had his gun at work, and what had occurred, so he made up the story to cover what had happened,” Ernster told local media Wednesday.

Ahlers was then arrested and booked in the Ramsey County jail for falsely reporting a crime. He was released Thursday morning with an arraignment scheduled for Oct. 31, according to the Star Tribune.

The at-large suspect — the black man with the “short Afro” — never existed, Ernster said.

Police told the Star Tribune that they were immediately skeptical of Ahlers’s original story, so they chose not to publicize his description of the shooter. However, audio from police scanner traffic posted by MN Police Clips was widely shared on social media. That audio included identifiers such as the fabricated suspect’s race, navy blue sweatshirt and Afro.

For the full story visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/15/a-white-security-officer-told-police-he-was-shot-by-a-black-man-turns-out-hed-shot-himself/?utm_term=.044cfcb2224a