A lockdown at MIT is over after reports of a gunman wearing body armor on campus turned out to be a hoax.
Cambridge Police responded to a call at close to 7:30 am on Saturday of a man with a gun inside of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus building. Campus and Cambridge police responded with minutes, and officers immediately entered the building to search for suspects, a police report noted.
After conducting a thorough search of the building, police secured the area and found no armed suspects.
“Police believe that the event, as reported, did not occur,” the report read.
Police noted that they are keeping the investigation into the MIT hoax open.
Until police reported that the MIT gunman call was fake, panic spread through the campus community and online. Numerous Twitter users expressed concern, and the campus sent out an emergency alert to all students with details of the alleged gunman:
“This morning information was received from Cambridge Police that there was a person with a long rifle and body armor in the Main Group Building of MIT. Multiple law enforcement agencies have responded. Stay indoors and shelter in place and report suspicious activity to the campus police dispatch.”
The MIT gunman hoax comes at a time when Americans are particularly sensitive to such issues, especially surrounding schools.
The fast response to the MIT gunman hoax also takes a lesson from the past. Last March, a court found that Virginia Tech was negligent in delaying a campus warning after a shooting there in 2007. A jury found that the university should have sent out alerts to students immediately when the first shots were fired. The gunman went on to kill 33 people.