ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A former college security guard learned his punishment on Monday for faking an ambush on campus.
A judge put 25-year-old Brent Ahlers on probation for one year and ordered him to pay restitution. Ahlers worked security at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
Back in September, he told police a black man shot him, but later admitted to accidentally shooting himself. The manhunt cost thousands of dollars as more than 50 police officers and the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter scoured the neighborhood.
Judge Nicole Star ordered Ahlers to attend six three-hour classes, classes that an African-American judge holds with about 30 black men in the community. Judge Star says she wants Ahlers to truly understand the impact his false statement had on the black community.
Ahlers faced misdemeanor charges, 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for filing a false police report that sparked a city wide man hunt in St. Paul.
It was Sept. 12 when Ahlers was shot in the shoulder on the St. Kate's campus in St. Paul. He told officers he was shot by a black man with a short afro wearing a hoodie and blue jeans.
As many as 55 officers and a State Patrol helicopter were used to search for the alleged gunman. About 24 hours later, Ahlers confessed that he shot himself while handling his own weapon on a campus where firearms are not permitted.
"It's disappointing. I think anytime anyone makes this type of egregious claim that a young black man shot him and for him to not get the maximum," Tyrone Terrill said.
St. Paul African American Leadership Council Chair Tyrone Terrill says the incident sparked anger in the community.
"Today he showed no remorse other than he doesn't want to go to jail for 90 days," Terrill said.
Judge Star said Ahlers' untrue statements fueled racial tensions in the city of St. Paul. She hopes by attending classes with black men to see first-hand the impact his statements had on them and the community will help him understand the hurt and fear he caused.
"He could have easily said a white man shot him, a Latino man shot him, a Native man shot him. No, he said a black man because he understood the fear of America as it relates to black males," Terrill said.
Ahlers did apologize in court for the fear he caused in the community. He'll pay St. Paul police and the State Patrol more than $4,500. If he finishes six classes ordered by the judge, he could serve no jail time. Otherwise, he faces two months behind bars.
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