Authorities investigating whether Northeastern explosion was staged

Multiple law enforcement sources tell 5 Investigates that authorities are now looking into whether the Northeastern University employee who reported that a Pelican-style case exploded when he opened it staged the incident.Those sources also told 5 Investigates that there was no explosive material found at the scene inside Holmes Hall and that the employee’s injuries were not consistent with those typically suffered during an explosion. A federal official who spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said investigators identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical. As 5 Investigates reported earlier, sources confirm that a note was found inside that case referencing virtual reality and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The Holmes Hall lab where the incident happened is an “Immersive Media Lab” on Northeastern’s campus that focuses on the exploration of virtual worlds, including virtual reality and augmented reality. Boston police, the FBI and the ATF are all involved in this investigation. All of the agencies declined official comment, calling this an active investigation. Authorities have said the employee involved, a 45-year-old man, suffered minor injuries. He was not identified. NewsCenter 5 was outside a home in Medford on Wednesday when federal agents arrived. A woman lets them inside. The home is listed as a previous residence of the university employee, although neighbors say he hasn’t lived there in years. The current resident is the man’s ex-wife. The woman who lives inside the home told NewsCenter 5 that she did not have any comment on the situation. Boston police said they responded to Holmes Hall, at 39 Leon St., shortly before 7:20 pm Tuesday. Boston firefighters also responded to the scene and helped police evacuate some of the buildings on campus, according to Boston police Commissioner Michael Cox. its website Wednesday, Northeastern University said its Boston campus is safe. “Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us,” said the post, credited to Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Kenneth Henderson. “We would like to underscore what was communicated to our community last night: Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure.” Counseling and other support services were made available for students, faculty and staff.Shortly after 7 pm Tuesday, alarms were going off in several Northeastern buildings near Holmes Hall and students were evacuated. Evening classes in some of those buildings were canceled.”It was definitely very scary because there were so many rumors going around,” said Northeastern student Connor Martin. “I heard as many as eight devices and, obviously, that wasn’t true. But you don’t know what’s real and what’s not.”In the wake of the incident at Northeastern, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Cambridge, all urged members of the campus communities to be cautious and report any suspicious packages. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Multiple law enforcement sources tell 5 Investigates that authorities are now looking into whether the Northeastern University employee who reported that a Pelican-style case exploded when he opened it staged the incident.

Those sources also told 5 Investigates that there was no explosive material found at the scene inside Holmes Hall and that the employee’s injuries were not consistent with those typically suffered during an explosion.

A federal official who spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said investigators identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical.

As 5 Investigates reported earlier, sources confirm that a note was found inside that case referencing virtual reality and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The Holmes Hall lab where the incident happened is an “Immersive Media Lab” on Northeastern’s campus that focuses on the exploration of virtual worlds, including virtual reality and augmented reality.

Boston police, the FBI and the ATF are all involved in this investigation. All of the agencies declined official comment, calling this an active investigation.

Authorities have said the employee involved, a 45-year-old man, suffered minor injuries. He was not identified.

NewsCenter 5 was outside a home in Medford on Wednesday when federal agents arrived. A woman lets them inside. The home is listed as a previous residence of the university employee, although neighbors say he hasn’t lived there in years. The current resident is the man’s ex-wife.

The woman who lives inside the home told NewsCenter 5 that she did not have any comment on the situation.

Boston police said they responded to Holmes Hall, at 39 Leon St., shortly before 7:20 pm Tuesday. Boston firefighters also responded to the scene and helped police evacuate some of the buildings on campus, according to Boston police Commissioner Michael Cox.

A search revealed a second similar package that was ultimately handled by the Boston Police Department’s bomb squad.

In a message posted to its website Wednesday, Northeastern University said its Boston campus is safe.

“Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us,” said the post, credited to Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Kenneth Henderson. “We would like to underscore what was communicated to our community last night: Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure.”

The campus opened normally for classes and other activities Wednesday. Counseling and other support services were made available for students, faculty and staff.

Shortly after 7 pm Tuesday, alarms were going off in several Northeastern buildings near Holmes Hall and students were evacuated. Evening classes in some of those buildings were canceled.

“It was definitely very scary because there were so many rumors going around,” said Northeastern student Connor Martin. “I heard as many as eight devices and, obviously, that wasn’t true. But you don’t know what’s real and what’s not.”

In the wake of the incident at Northeastern, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Cambridge, all urged members of the campus communities to be cautious and report any suspicious packages.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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