A package exploded inside a campus building at Northeastern University on Tuesday night, injuring an employee and spreading fear among Boston’s many college campuses, the police said.
Officers were called just after 7:15 p.m. to Holmes Hall at 39 Leon Street, which houses the writing center on the private university’s campus, for a suspicious package that had detonated, the authorities said. A further search revealed a second package, which was rendered safe by the Boston Police Department’s bomb squad.
Felipe Colon the superintendent of the Boston Police Department said at a news conference late Tuesday that the employee, a 45-year-old man, was transported to an area hospital with a minor hand injury.
The police, its bomb squad, the Boston Fire Department and Boston Emergency Medical Services were helping in the investigation at the university, which has an undergraduate population of about 15,700 students.
Mr. Colon said the motive was still under investigation, as well as how the package was delivered to the building.
Jason Cromartie, special agent in charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston office, said that the agency was offering its “full support” to the agencies.
Holmes Hall was evacuated as a precaution, Officer Andre Watson, a Boston police spokesman, said Tuesday night.
Michael Davis, the chief of the Northeastern University Police Department, said that an officer had responded to the area within one minute of the 911 call. He emphasized that the “campus is secure.”
Earlier Tuesday, the university’s Police Department encouraged people to avoid the area around Holmes Hall and said that classes in at least six buildings had been canceled for the night.
Mike Beaudet, a reporter at WCVB, was teaching a class during the detonation and though his class was evacuated, no one had heard an explosion, the local TV station reported.
Numerous universities in the area, including The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Boston University, sent messages to students saying that there would be increased patrols and to report anything suspicious to the police.
Michelle Wu, the mayor of Boston, said at the news conference that she had just sent her two young children back to Boston’s public schools and emphasized the importance of safety and well-being on campuses.
“I take very seriously that this city is home to everyone’s young people,” she said, “from our littlest learners up to our college students and university staff.”