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
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…