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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 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
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.