Friday, April 19, 2013

"And the manhunt continues"

Boston is again in a state of emergency.  The entire city is on lockdown.  I am trying my very best to avoid all unnecessary coverage, I've already cried enough this week, thank you.

My part in the story starts last night.  After an awful day of allergies, I took two benadryl, a sudafed, and one of the giant blue alka-seltzer severe allergy and headache tablets, and headed off to bed around 9 pm.  I was woken at 10:50 with a text from MIT alert, which I read groggily:

"At 10:48 PM today gunshots were reported near Building 32 (Stata) which is currently surrounded by responding agencies. The area is cordoned off. Please stay clear of area until further notice. Unknown if injuries have occurred. Although the situation is considered active and extremely dangerous, an investigation is underway. Updates will be provided at this site when more information becomes available."

Since the marathon, we've had four or five false alarms about suspicious packages, which I'm glad that I knew about, I'm glad that MIT Police has been on the ball, all that, but in the medication fog, I just kind of shrugged it off.

But they kept coming.

"Responding agencies continue to investigate active shooter incident at Building 32 (Stata). Please stay indoors and away from Building 32 (Stata) and surrounding area."

And friends began to text, wondering if I was okay.  My brow would furrow in that "I'm sleepy don't you understand I took so many pills I can't think straight I'm fine and I need to sleep my head hurts" sort of way, I'd type out "I'm fine, in the dorms" and try and go back to sleep, my town alert with sirens and the whirring of helicopters.

"Update on shooter incident. Responding agencies continue to investigate the situation. The scene is outside of Building 32 (Stata) and 76 (Koch) near Vassar and Main Streets. Injuries have been reported. The situation is still very active and we ask everyone to stay inside."

"Please remain indoors. Police have NOT determined that the campus is safe."

Finally, at 2am:

"MIT Police have determined that the suspect in this evening’s shooting is no longer on campus. It is now safe to resume normal activities. Please remain vigilant in the coming hours."

Another suspicious package warning was sent out at 4:30 am.  And the sounds continued all night, a city wide awake hunting terrorists and killers.

The soporific qualities of the benadryl finally wore off around 6am.  I turned on my computer to find out what went down, and my jaw dropped.

An MIT policeman, aged 26, was killed.  At Stata.  My Stata.  The building I point out to all my friends that visit, calling a mix of MC Escher and Dr. Seuss on LSD.

All buildings at MIT are labeled with numbers.  The fight occurred between Stata and the Koch - between buildings 32 and 76 in the top middle of the map.  I work in building 16, below building 32.  It's about a 30 second walk between my office and seeing gunfire.

One suspect was killed in a gunfight.

One remains at large.


They're brothers from Chechnya.

I could hardly internalize anything.  It just...didn't make sense.  

I quickly wrote a facebook post letting everyone know I was all right, and sent emails to my family (a bit too early to call home).  I watched the information pour in, and an alert arrived at 6:10 saying classes were canceled and MIT would be closed all day Friday.  A statewide lockdown for the Boston metro area was put into place soon after, and I'm in McCormick with everyone else, still trying to make sense of things.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to anytime soon.

Kemore, completely deserted - from Twitter

Boston Common, also deserted (more pictures here)

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