BOSTON – Sources tell WBZ-TV's I-Team that police are now investigating whether there was an explosion at Northeastern University Tuesday night at all and are looking into the possibility that this was a hoax.
Boston police got a call around 7 p.m. from Holmes Hall reporting an explosion. Sources told the I-Team a staff member opened a hard suitcase called a Pelican case. The case did not have any gun powder or explosives in it. Sources say the cases are regularly used in the building and wouldn't be unusual.
The victim, a 45-year-old man, ended up with minor injuries to his hands and was taken to a hospital to be treated. No students were hurt. The man's name has not been made public.
Sources tell the I-Team within hours police became suspicious. First, questioning why the man's injuries did not appear to be from an explosion.
His statement to police was riddled with inconsistencies, sources say.
More clues of a possible hoax came from the note found in the case and first reported by the I-Team. Sources say the language used suggested it was written by someone with intimate knowledge of the Immersive Media lab.
Described as a threatening manifesto, it was addressed to the manager of the technologies lab, demanding it stop working on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the "metaverse," specifically mentioning Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The anti-technology typewritten note, with a number of typos and misspellings, said the labs would be destroyed, mentioned bombs and provided a timeline to comply.
Police say this is an ongoing and fluid investigation led by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and no one is in custody yet.
The building on Leon Street was evacuated Tuesday night and evening classes in nearby buildings were canceled. A search by police revealed a second similar package. They said it was "rendered safe" by the bomb squad.
"We advise any folks out there that might see something to say something, and let us know and dial 911," said Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox.
The FBI in Boston is offering its full support in the investigation and was seen back at the hall Wednesday.
"We are fully integrated with our partners and remain committed to resolving the incident safely," said Jason Cromartie, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
The building was deemed safe Tuesday night and the campus was open Wednesday.
"Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure. Classes, research, and all other campus activities have resumed today," the university said in a statement Wednesday.
Northeastern is now offering counseling for students and staff. For more information, click here.
Other colleges in the area have urged campuses to be on alert. Wentworth Institute of Technology canceled classes until noon on Wednesday so that buildings could be searched and secured.
"It's still an ongoing investigation," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday. "I'm very grateful to our law enforcement partners from a local level at the university, the FBI who were out immediately responding and making sure all our students and community members were safe. The scene was secured right away and we're continuing to follow it very closely."
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