Anti-virtual reality note included with package that exploded on college campus

(AP) — A hard plastic suitcase that exploded on the Northeastern University campus in Boston, slightly injuring a staffer, contained a rambling note that railed against virtual reality and also referred to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a police official said on Wednesday.

Investigators are still trying to identify the motive behind Tuesday night’s blast and are working to understand why the package was sent specifically to the Northeast, the official said.

Investigators are also trying to determine the device’s specific mechanism and whether the package contained gunpowder, the official added. The officer was unable to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A police bomb squad is on the campus of Northeastern University in Boston to locate a suspect...
A police bomb squad is on the Northeastern University campus in Boston to investigate a suspicious package.(WFXT)

The officer described the case as a “pelican-style case.” Pelican makes hard cases to protect sensitive equipment.

A spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office declined to comment Wednesday, saying the investigation is “still very active and fluid.”

Northeastern said the campus is safe in a message posted on its website Wednesday.

“Events like the incident that occurred last night on our Boston campus can trigger or increase anxiety in many of us,” read the post, which is attributed to Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Kenneth Henderson. “We want to underscore what was communicated to our community last night: Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure.”

The campus opened normally for classes and other activities on Wednesday.

Counseling and other support services were provided to students, faculty and staff.

The package delivered at Holmes Hall detonated just after 7pm on Tuesday when a staff member opened it, the university said in a statement. The employee, a 45-year-old man, was taken to hospital with minor injuries to his hand, police said. No name has been released.

Boston’s bomb squad neutralized a second package near the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, located near the Northeastern campus.

Holmes Hall is home to the University’s Creative Writing Program and the University’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program.

Northeastern is a private university in downtown Boston with approximately 16,000 undergraduate students. The campus opened normally for classes on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s blast was one of the first major scares in Boston since 2013, when two bombs fell near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three spectators and injuring more than 260 others.


Associated Press writers Alanna Durkin Richer and Mark Pratt in Boston contributed to this report.