CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – A false report of a gunman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that briefly caused a campus-wide lockdown Saturday stemmed from an electronic message sent to police, authorities said.
Officers searched for a man reported to be carrying a long rifle and wearing body armor but found nothing unusual, Cambridge police said. The report _ that alleged the gunman was barricaded inside a building on campus _ turned out to be a hoax, and there was no threat to public safety, state police spokesman David Procopio said.
Cambridge police received the tip in an electronic message around 7:30 a.m., but witnesses on the scene eventually contradicted it, spokesman Dan Riviello said. Neither police nor MIT specified how the tip was received, though the police department’s website says anonymous tips may be made via text message or email, in addition to a telephone hotline.
“The MIT community was sent a precautionary text message at 8:52 a.m. asking them to remain indoors and shelter in place,” the university said in a statement issued following online criticism over the delay in alerting the public that a gunman was possibly on campus. It did not explain why it took more than an hour to issue the alert.
A room-to-room search by MIT and Cambridge police, along with state police troopers, led officers to declare that the scene was clear at about 10:30 a.m., MIT said.
“No armed suspects were found in the building or on campus and police believe that the event, as reported, did not occur,” according to a statement by Cambridge police.
Investigators are trying to identify the prankster and will pursue criminal charges if they do, Riviello said.
He declined to provide additional details or confirm reports that the IP address used by the prankster has been traced to New York, saying the investigation continued.
John DiFava, chief of MIT’s campus police, acknowledged the delay in telling students about a possible gunman on campus. “I have to look into it and find out the reason for the lag,” he told the Boston Globe.
Junior Zach Wener-Fligner told the newspaper that the delay was “a little worrisome.”
“But I assume the relevant area was locked down,” he said.
About 11,000 people attend the prestigious school outside Boston where students are famous for their smarts as well as their stunts, including once putting a police car on top of a domed campus building.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise