Campus, News

BUPD gives all clear after “emergency situation” at Mugar

A law enforcement official on the scene after a hoax call was made to BUPD's dispatch center warning of guns and bombs in Mugar Memorial Library Friday morning. PHOTO BY SARAH SILBIGER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
A law enforcement official on the scene after a hoax call was made to BUPD’s dispatch center warning of guns and bombs in Mugar Memorial Library Friday morning. PHOTO BY SARAH SILBIGER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans addresses the media Friday morning after a hoax call was made to BUPD's dispatch center warning of guns and bombs in Mugar Memorial Library. PHOTO BY BETSEY GOLDWASSER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans addresses the media Friday morning after a hoax call was made to BUPD’s dispatch center warning of guns and bombs in Mugar Memorial Library. PHOTO BY BETSEY GOLDWASSER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University Police Department responded to an urgent emergency situation at 771 Commonwealth Ave. Friday morning, though it was later determined to be a hoax.

BUPD Acting Chief Scott Paré said during a press conference that the department received a call from a man at 8:15 a.m., warning officers that he was holding hostages with guns and bombs on the fourth floor of the Mugar Memorial Library.

Officers were at the scene one minute later, and Boston and Massachusetts State police also responded to the scene. They first evacuated the library, then asked everyone to leave the George Sherman Union — the adjacent building.

The university also issued a university-wide alert, warning students to stay away from the area.

Paré said after a thorough search, police officers did not find any threat in the building. The university is working with the Boston Regional Intelligence Center to further investigate, he said.

“If anything good came out of this, it’s just us working together to [ensure students’ safety],” Paré said.

The building was reopened at 10:30 a.m.

Alexandra Fonseca, a first-year graduate student in the College of Communication, was in Mugar waiting for a friend to work on a project when police officers evacuated the building.

“I scrambled to pack my backpack and went straight into panic mode,” Fonseca said. “No one knows what was happening. I hoped it was a gas leak, but the officers’ tone is so serious.” 

Fonseca said since she is a long-term Boston resident, memories of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing are still vivid, especially after Friday’s incident.  

“Even though it was a hoax, the damage is still done,” she said.

Demeisha Crowley, a junior in the Sargent College of Heath and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she arrived at the library around 7:30 a.m. to study for an exam. 

“Everything was fine, then an intercom came randomly and asked us to go to first floor,” she said. “I grabbed my stuff in a panic and left Mugar. Then at the front door of Mugar, I saw police with huge guns.” 

Crowley said she was initially told to stay at the GSU, before the officers asked them to leave the building.

“I packed again, dropping my stuff, scrambling,” she said. “I went straight to South Campus. I don’t want to stay on that side of the street.”

“Unfortunately there have been a number of these incidents, [so] you can’t dismiss them,” university spokesperson Colin Riley said. “As of now, no, there is no threat.”

Lexi Peery, Dave Sebastian and Anna Whitelaw contributed to the reporting of this article.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans speaks to law enforcement officials outside of Mugar Memorial Library Friday morning. PHOTO BY SARAH SILBIGER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans speaks to law enforcement officials outside of Mugar Memorial Library Friday morning. PHOTO BY SARAH SILBIGER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

One Comment

  1. Alex, I appreciate your reporting more than the statement issued by BU President Brown in which he stated: “The Boston Police have issued an all-clear notification and there are no reported injuries.”…”We are very grateful to Boston Police Commissioner Evans and the Boston Police, Fire, and EMS Departments, the Boston University Police Department, and the Massachusetts State Police for the swift and coordinated response that ensured the safety of our community and made possible an early (and reassuring) resolution of this situation.

    You got it right when you stated “BUPD gives all clear after “emergency situation” at Mugar” and “The Boston University Police Department responded to an urgent emergency situation at 771 Commonwealth Ave.” Although the photos you have attached to your story depict a heavy BPD presence, they do not depict the whole story, they were taken outside of the building and well into the incident.

    As ALWAYS, the BUPD was on scene first, rushing in to what was thought to be an ongoing lethal threat. The responding BUPD officers entered the building, placing themselves in jeopardy of serious bodily harm and or death to protect the members of the BU Community.

    The BUPD is promoted to the extent of a “selling point” during BU Tours of prospective students and their families as well as at New Student Orientation(s) to assure parents that their kids are in good hands.

    It’s discouraging and insulting to the men and women of BUPD who are the first to respond to dangerous situations, including Friday’s incident, to ensure the safety and security of the BU Community, to be marginalized by the President of the University. Acknowledging a Civilian administrator of BPD, Boston Police, Fire and EMS before acknowledging BUPD is not acceptable.

    We do appreciate the assistance of all of the responding public safety agencies on Friday. It was a well-coordinated effort to ensure that the building was safe for the BU Community to reoccupy. However, the initial response to the alleged threat was led by members of BUPD. A competent cadre of Law Enforcement Professionals who give selflessly for this community.

    A BIG pat on the back for a job well done to the men and women of the BUPD.

    Scott Rocheville
    President, Boston University Police Patrolmen’s Association