BOSTON (NewsNation) — A federal law enforcement official has confirmed to NewsNation that the reported explosion at Northeastern University in Boston was a ‘hoax” and no explosive material was found.
Officials, however, say they are still unsure of the motive.
According to the Associated Press, federal officials are examining whether the employee who reported the explosion may have lied to investigators and staged the incident.
Investigators identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical because his injuries did not match wounds typically consistent with an explosion, said one official.
The officials could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The parcel that purportedly blew up was one of two that were reported to police early in the evening. Boston’s bomb squad neutralized a second package near the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, which is on the outskirts of the Northeastern campus.
Classes on campus were canceled and members of the bomb squad reported to the site of the incident shortly after police received a call at 7:16 p.m. that a “suspicious” package had detonated on campus. A university staff member has minor injuries to his hand, Northeastern spokesperson Shannon Nargi told The Associated Press. Felipe Colon, a Boston police superintendent, later described the victim as a 45-year-old man.
The package was delivered to Holmes Hall on campus, which is home to the university’s creative writing program and its women’s, gender and sexuality studies program. The FBI was assisting the investigation. The package exploded when a staff member opened it, according to officials. The building was evacuated, but police now say the scene is secure.
“We’re monitoring the situation at Northeastern and we’re ready to work with the university and our law enforcement partners on any prosecutions that may develop,” Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said, promising “a comprehensive investigation to determine exactly what occurred here.”
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both on the other side of the Charles River in Cambridge, said they were increasing patrols on their campuses as a precaution and urging students and faculty to report anything suspicious.
Northeastern is a private university in downtown Boston with about 16,000 undergraduate students.