By Jenna Manto and Kiran Galani
The Boston Police Department received a report of dangerous activity and potential shots fired Thursday afternoon near Simmons University. Although the incident ended up being a false alarm, students were alerted to avoid the area.
A scheduled balloon-popping event was mistaken for gunshots and triggered lockdowns and high alerts at several schools in Fenway, The Boston Globe reported.
BPD administrative assistant Melissa Marchionda said law enforcement immediately responded to the call and investigated the potential threat.
“We responded to a call that shots were fired,” Marchionda said. “We investigated and found that no shots were fired.”
Boston University spokesperson Colin Riley said the BU administration immediately contacted Boston Police and received information about their response to the report.
“They did not find anything at the scene, so we put out an alert that there was a police presence down the street from the Fenway Campus, and we wanted people to be aware, and we obviously will,” Riley said. “BUPD are there, and they will be there throughout the evening.”
BU students received an alert about the situation a little after 3 p.m. notifying them of a “heavy police presence at Simmons” and urging them to avoid the area.
Students received another alert from the BU alert service at 3:37 p.m. with an update, stating that “The police activity at Simmons University is over.”
Simmi Nishad, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was “definitely really scared” when she received the alert. Nishad said her parents, sister and friends all texted her to make sure she was OK when they became aware of the situation.
“It’s my parents’ biggest concern about me living in a city,” Nishad said, “that school shooters is a big problem, and it’s more prominent in cities, especially in Boston, [because] colleges [are] so concentrated here.”
College of Communication sophomore Kirthana Iyer said she was confused as to why BU did not give students more information on the situation, considering there was a heavy police presence.
“It was just crazy because they didn’t give us any details at all, and they were just like, ‘Yeah, there’s a lot of police activity going on, so be careful,’” Iyer said. “So, I thought it was kind of crazy that BU didn’t tell us anything else.”
Riley said a police presence will remain on BU’s Fenway campus through the night to ensure the safety of students in the area.
Haley Lerner contributed to the reporting of this story.