A National Guard member could soon face charges after he gained entry to the Big House during the Michigan State game without a ticket.
University Police confirmed that the 42-year-old man parked a military vehicle near the field, while dressed in a full military honor guard uniform and armed with two rifles without any ammunition, AnnArbor.com reported.
Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said in an interview with The Michigan Daily that police did check the man’s weapons when he parked at the Department of Public Safety building on Kipke Drive by the stadium to make sure he didn’t present any danger to spectators.
Brown said honor guard members and their commanders raise and lower the flag on field at every home game, according to AnnArbor.com. Because officers at the Public Safety building do not have a list of honor guard members permitted on the field, the man was able to gain entry as he was dressed in the honor guard uniform.
In the interview with the Daily, Brown also said that the man told several officers at several different checkpoints that he was authorized to be on the field.
Once at the stadium, the man entered through the tunnel to gain access to the field, Brown told AnnArbor.com.
After another honor guard member told security officials that the man was not authorized to participate in the ceremony, University Police escorted the man out of the stadium during the game.
Brown told the Daily that the man was “very compliant” and told police he made his way onto the field in uniform because he could not get a ticket.
Though the man’s name has not been released, Brown told AnnArbor.com he is in a National Guard unit based in Southeast Michigan.
“It’s very unfortunate that this man used his uniform and his status to access a place in an unauthorized fashion and essentially just used very bad judgment,” Brown told the Daily.
After being questioned, University Police deferred the case to prosecutors and the man may face criminal charges of illegal entry and possession of a weapon in the stadium, Brown said.
Though Brown said the incident was a “collective issue” for police officers and athletic staff, she said University Police are taking measures to make sure it does not happen again.
“We’re continuing to review all of our protocol but again I stress that the public wasn’t put at any kind of risk,” Brown said.