Explosive package at Northeastern University had note criticizing virtual reality, Mark Zuckerberg

14 September 2022

BOSTON – The explosive package that injured a man at Northeastern University had an anti-technology note that criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and virtual reality, according to WBZ-TV’s I-Team and CBS News.

The package was delivered to Holmes Hall on Northeastern’s Boston campus Tuesday evening. It detonated when an employee opened it shortly after 7 p.m. 

The victim, a 45-year-old man, ended up with minor injuries to his hands and was taken to a hospital to be treated. No students were hurt. The man’s name has not been made public. Investigators did not reveal how the package was delivered or who it was intended for.

Sources told WBZ-TV’s I-Team the package was a Pelican case, which is made of a hard plastic material and generally used to carry video cameras. The sources told WBZ’s Cheryl Fiandaca those cases are regularly in the building and wouldn’t be unusual. 

Northeastern’s immersive video lab is in Holmes Hall. Artificial intelligence is also taught there and a virtual reality lab meeting was held there Monday.

The sources told Fiandaca the staff member brought case upstairs and put it on a shelf. When he opened it, it was under pressure and he was injured. Sources said the material in the case was not gun powder and did not contain actual explosives

The I-Team sources said the case contained a typed note railing against virtual reality and artificial intelligence and demanded all lab work on those issues stop. It also criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. CBS News described the note as anti-technology. 

The building on Leon Street was evacuated and evening classes in nearby buildings were canceled. A search by police revealed a second similar package. They said it was “rendered safe” by the bomb squad.

Boston Police are working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the explosion. 

“We advise any folks out there that might see something to say something, and let us know and dial 911,” said Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox.

The FBI in Boston is offering its full support in the investigation and was seen back at the hall Wednesday. 

“We are fully integrated with our partners and remain committed to resolving the incident safely,” said Jason Cromartie, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge.

The building was deemed safe Tuesday night and the campus was open Wednesday.

“Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure. Classes, research, and all other campus activities have resumed today,” the university said in a statement Wednesday.

Northeastern is now offering counseling for students and staff. For more information, click here.

Other colleges in the area have urged campuses to be on alert. Wentworth Institute of Technology canceled classes until noon on Wednesday so that buildings could be searched and secured. 

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday. “I’m very grateful to our law enforcement partners from a local level at the university, the FBI who were out immediately responding and making sure all our students and community members were safe. The scene was secured right away and we’re continuing to follow it very closely.”

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Author: CBSBoston.com Staff

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