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Security Guard Who Shot Self, Blamed Nonexistent Black Man Dodges Jail Time For Now

A university security guard who mistakenly shot himself and cried wolf that a Black man was the perpetrator may not serve a single day in jail for his dangerous lie.


Brent Ahlers, a security guard at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., was ordered on Monday to pay about $4,500 in restitution for the time, money and resources wasted to find a nonexistent Black man.

If Ahlers pays the fine and meets other requirements he will completely avoid serving time, Ramsey County District Judge Nicole Starr said in court on Monday.

As part of the agreement Ahlers must go to six meetings, led by another judge, for men whose lives have intertwined with the criminal justice system. Starr told Ahlers that many of the participants are Black men.

Upon completion Ahler will be required to share how his own actions had consequences on the Black community.

“I’ll expect you’ll have something to say that’s a little bit more than ‘I’m sorry,'” the judge said.

If Ahlers fails to meet his requirements he will spend 60 days in jail.

Ahlers accidentally shot himself in the shoulder with his own handgun while on duty in September. He blamed the shooting on a Black male with a “short afro” who he caught smoking weed on St. Catherine’s campus.

The tall tale sent 55 police officers, four police dogs and a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft on a wild goose chase; instilled fear in citizens who believed an armed man was on the run; and wasted money and resources as he kept up his charade. The university also went on lockdown as authorities searched for the “suspect.”

Ahlers was taken to the hospital the night of the shooting and treated for his injuries. The next day, after police realized his story was not adding up, Ahlers admitted to making the whole thing up. He was charged with one count of falsely reporting a crime and pleaded guilty.

According to the Pioneer Press, Ahlers’ attorney, Eric Rice, said that Ahlers was fired by the university and has since moved out of Minnesota.

Rice reportedly asked the judge to consider the fact that his client confessed to the crime, showing that he “knew he made a grave error.”

Not everyone was convinced.

St. Paul City Attorney Tamara Larsen said Rice’s client deserves jail time, the Pioneer Press reported.

“Even now he doesn’t seem to fully understand how serious this was,” Larsen reportedly said.

Ahler’s phony story wrongfully endangered the lives of Black men in the community who were targeted by police for a crime none of them were guilty of.

“He should have gotten the maximum [sentencing] on everything,” Tyrone Terrill, president of the African American Leadership Council, told the Pioneer Press. “When you say you have an active shooter in the community it’s only by the grace of God that nobody got hurt.”

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