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After Northeastern explosion, questions linger but no official answers


By Samuele Petruccelli and Molly Farrar

Northeastern bombing
Boston Police on Leon Street on Sept. 13, the night of the minor explosion that occurred on Northeastern University’s campus. NEU’s campus remains fully open after the incident while investigators look into the origins of the package that exploded.

Northeastern University’s campus is fully open after a package exploded and mildly injured one University staff member Tuesday night. But the community and law enforcement are still searching for answers.

Local news outlets reported that investigators were looking into whether the 45-year-old victim Jason Duhaime might have staged the explosion, citing inconsistencies in his injuries and story. Duhaime has not been officially recognized as a person of interest or suspect by police.

The Associated Press reported that investigators “identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical because his injuries did not match wounds typically consistent with an explosion.”

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Duhaime denied suspicions that he set up the incident. 

“I did not stage this, in no way shape or form,” he told The Globe Wednesday. “They need to catch the guy that did this.”

Students at Northeastern reported a lack of transparency about the situation and were only notified about 40 minutes after the explosion. The Daily Free Press was among the first outlets to report the incident early Tuesday night and sent out a news alert before the university. 

There were also reports of a suspicious object at the Museum of Fine Arts, but the object was neither an explosive nor associated with the incident at NEU, a Boston police spokesperson said.

Citing the active investigation, both the Boston Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, who are operating jointly, declined to comment or provide any updates.

“To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we are going to refrain from providing further details at this time,” said Kristen Setera, a public affairs advisor at the FBI’s Boston division.

Sergeant Detective John Boyle with the BPD cited the “very active investigation” and declined to comment any further. He also said the department did not have any information on when an official update would be released.

In an email obtained by The Daily Free Press, faculty from the university’s Art + Design program cited a CNN report and wrote to students that though the investigation is ongoing, it seemed the College of Arts, Media and Design’s “mixed reality lab was the target, and one staff member has been lightly injured.”

“We wish our colleague who was injured [a] quick recovery and healing,” the email read. “It is especially traumatizing when the safety of our own workplace and community is violated and subjected to harm.”

An NEU spokesperson did not respond to specific questions on news reports that said investigators were looking into whether the incident was staged.

CNN also reported the exploded package contained “a rambling note that criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the relationship between academic institutions and the developers of virtual reality.”

Boston 25 News reported the FBI returned to NEU campus Wednesday and visited Duhaime’s former home in Medford.

After the incident, Boston University suspended all mail deliveries Tuesday night. In an interview, BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the mail resumed Wednesday morning after a search. Riley said the University was “extraordinarily cautious.”


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