A security officer at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., who told police that a suspect shot him has admitted that he accidentally shot himself, authorities say.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the officer, Brent Patrick Ahlers, 25, has been charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.
Under questioning Wednesday night, Ahlers admitted that he was in a wooded area of the campus Tuesday night when his personal handgun, which he had brought from home, accidentally discharged and wounded him in the shoulder.
He told police he made up the story about a suspect shooting him because he was afraid of losing his job for bringing a gun to work.
Firearms are prohibited on St. Catherine's campus, and security officers on campus are not armed, St. Catherine says.
The St. Catherine campus was locked down Tuesday night and a perimeter was in place until after midnight while authorities searched for the supposed suspect.
"Last night I was talking to you about an incident that shocked the community," St. Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said at a news conference. "It had basically 1,800 students held captive in their dorm rooms at St. Catherine's. It had residents of the Mac-Groveland and Highland Park communities fearing they would be hurt in their homes."
Ernster said 55 police officers and four K-9s, as well as a State Patrol aircraft, joined in the search for a suspect Tuesday night. Scanner reports described a man in a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans. Ahlers was taken to Regions Hospital with noncritical injuries.
Ahlers has been a member of the St. Catherine Department of Public Safety for 15 months, University President Becky Roloff says, with no reports of misconduct on his record prior to this incident.
He holds an associate degree in law enforcement and completed law enforcement skills training at Hennepin Technical College.