A Minnesota chapter of the NAACP expressed outrage Thursday after a security guard allegedly falsely claimed a black man had shot him while on duty, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.
Brent Patrick Ahlers, 25, of St. Louis Park, was arrested Wednesday night by St. Paul police. Ahlers was a security guard at St. Catherine University and was fired Thursday morning, the Pioneer Press reported. Tuesday night, he called 911 to report that he was shot by a suspicious person he confronted in a wooded area on the St. Catherine University campus. He described the shooter as a black male with “a short Afro,” wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans, according to police scanner traffic posted by MN Police Clips, the Pioneer Press reported.
However, St. Paul police did not publicly release a suspect description because, a spokesman said, “as the facts of this case were being discovered, we did not have confidence in the description,” the Pioneer Press reported. Ahlers later told police he accidentally shot himself, the Pioneer-Press reported.
Dianne Binns, president of the St. Paul NAACP, said that Ahlers blaming a black man for the shooting was “nothing new.”
“It’s been happening for decades to African-American men in America,” she told the Pioneer-Press. “It made me angry, then sad … I thought we had come a long way in seven decades but I guess that’s not the case.”
St. Catherine president Becky Roloff said Ahlers’ statements about the race of the “suspect” were “deeply troubling and do not reflect our values.”
Ahlers was treated Tuesday night at Regions Hospital, KSTP reported. He told investigators during questioning on Wednesday that he accidentally shot himself with his handgun and lied about it because he feared losing his job, according to St. Paul police.
St. Paul Police patrolled the wooded area on campus where Ahlers said he’d been attacked, CityPagesreported. They set up a perimeter around St. Catherine’s and conducted an “exhaustive” search, with 55 officers, four police K-9s, and a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft circling overhead.
Ahlers has hired an attorney. A message left with the attorney was not returned Thursday, KSTP reported.