A stupid mistake and a racist lie by a campus security guard at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, turned into a full blown manhunt on Tuesday night for a black perpetrator who simply didn't exist.
Security guard Brent Ahlers, 25, admitted to police officers he had been playing with an unauthorized gun on the university grounds and accidentally shot himself. He had not been attacked by a "black male" with a small afro wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans, as he'd originally reported.
According to City Pages, Ahlers finally came clean the night after 55 St. Paul police officers, four police K-9s, and Minnesota State Patrol aircraft had spent hours searching the campus for the alleged attacker to no avail.
“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,” Police Sgt. Mike Ernster told local CBS News.
Ahlers was arrested and faces a misdemeanor charge of false reporting of a crime. He has been released from jail, and the St. Paul attorney's office is now in the process of determining if he should face any additional charges.
It's a blessing that no innocent civilian was detained or hurt by law enforcement due to Ahler's lie, but the blatant racism of his fabricated story is something those in the community won't shake off. Ahler exploited some of the worst of America in an attempt to cover up his own idiocy.
“When someone taps into realistic public shootings, things that seem to pop up too frequently, it’s a real concern that people have,” Lisa Clark, a resident of Highland Park, told City Pages. “I was angry that he subjected the entire neighborhood to this huge police presence, that people were afraid being out and about … and that he took it past that, into tapping into people’s racism.”
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