FBI, Secret Service join investigation into MIT gunman hoax

Federal investigators will help Cambridge and MIT Police determine who was behind the false report of a man with a rifle on campus Saturday. (afagen/Flickr)
Federal investigators will help Cambridge and MIT Police determine who was behind the false report of a man with a rifle on campus Saturday. (afagen/Flickr)

Federal investigators will help Cambridge and MIT Police determine who was behind the false report of a man with a rifle on campus Saturday.

Steven Ricciardi, director of the Secret Service’s Boston field office, told the Boston Globe that the agency’s electronic crimes task force is getting involved because the hoax “does have a component to it that’s associated to the Internet.” The FBI will also take part in the probe.

The threat was made at 7:28 a.m. through an electronic message. Authorities have not said who received it, or exactly how the message was sent. The warning was specific, according to MIT’s student newspaper, the Tech.

“Police radio traffic suggested that the gunman had a long rifle and body armor, was hiding in the bathroom and that he was going after MIT President L. Rafael Reif and school staff in retaliation for the death of Aaron Swartz,” the Tech reported.

Swartz was the Internet activist and co-founder of Reddit who committed suicide in January. He faced federal charges for allegedly hacking into MIT’s network and stealing millions documents. His family blames the school and the US Attorney’s Office in Boston for his death.

Cambridge police arrived on campus two minutes after getting the threat, according to a statement posted on its website Saturday.

“An incident command was established and a coordinated room-by-room search was conducted,” the CPD said. “No armed suspects were found in the building or on campus, and police believe that the event, as reported, did not occur.”

One aspect of the investigation will be how long it took MIT to notify students and staff about the threat. The school didn’t send out an alert until more than an hour later.

“The MIT community was sent a precautionary text message at 8:52 a.m. asking them to remain indoors and shelter in place,” the MIT New Office said Saturday.

In comparison, Cambridge Police tweeted about the incident less than ten minutes after getting the call.

“At the conclusion of the ongoing investigation, MIT Police and other parts of the MIT administration will, as part of standard operating procedure, conduct an after-action review of MIT’s police and communications actions during this event,” the News Office said.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.