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Shots fired at MIT - report of an active shooter near Bldg. 32 (Stata) (mit.net)
402 points by weisser on Apr 19, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 276 comments

Breakdown of what is happening on this reddit thread [1]. You can listen to the police scanner here [2]. Live steaming video here [3]. For those listening on the scanner this is the area/streets they are talking about [4].

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/1cnwms/mods_removed_th...

[2] http://tunein.com/radio/Boston-Police-Fire-and-EMS-Scanner-s...

[3] http://www1.whdh.com/video/7newslive

[4] https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=100+talcott&hl=en&ll=4...

The most accurate information may be gleaned from police scanners. News cameras may give you pictures of the amount of police officers at the scene, but they cannot get close enough to give you video of what's actually happening. The irony is that of those three sources of information (Web site, radio, news camera), the best source of "real time" information is the oldest. Yes, it's true that the scanner is being broadcast over the internet, but you could listen to the police scanner with amateur radio equipment decades ago.

EDIT: I find that it is much easier to listen to the police scanner than a news station, because the SNR ratio is much higher. When there is a break in the action, news reporters fill the air time with speculation or repeat the same old information. On the police scanner, when they have no new information, they are silent.

Having said that, I still find it cool to hear an officer ask the dispatcher (on the radio) to tell an overhead helicopter to point a searchlight at a certain location, and moments later see on television a helicopter flying overhead with its searchlight on.

Maybe it's the fact that I spent my youth growing up around HAM radio and then did several years of EMS dispatching, but I much prefer listening to the scanner than the news. It can be chaotic at times, garbled at others, but if you're used to sorting it out, it's the best way to get accurate information.

Former firefighter and 911 dispatcher here: I agree completely. It takes a while to get a feel for it, but if you want to know what's going on in real-time, listening to the emergency comms is the way to go.

Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions that's hard or impossible to do, as they use digital systems with trunking that made it hard to monitor with a scanner and/or use encryption.

Need I say that I think encrypting this stuff is a bad idea? Even if it may, on rare occasion, benefit a "bad guy" to listen to the police channels, weighed against the need for government transparency, I think the need to keep the comms open for everybody wins out.

There are a lot of people listening. I think perhaps the best way of learning information now is to follow the info posted in #bostonbombing on Freenode, they are live-updating what they hear on the scanners + a lot of other sources.

Only problem here is that people take the police scanner as gospel, even though the police may be as confused as anyone else. And because it's not a news source, no one feels the need to explicitly correct things that are wrong.

Absolutely, it's full of the fog of war.

But I'd rather try to interpret that myself than get it filtered through the traditional media in quasi-real time (vs. the much more reliable reporting that happens, say, a couple days after everything is over).

The scanner feeds on tunein and broadcastify seem to have been cut? That's consistent with reports that the perp was last seen using a laptop and SWAT were surrounding his location. Also the press have been asked to stop tweeting what they hear on their scanners.

Anyone know a working live scanner feed?

UPDATE: "MA State PD and Boston Police have requested via social media to not post search locations for the Boston bombing suspects - the Boston PD feed is temporarily offline due to this request.", http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/mid/13/?rl=rr

Mods deleted the reddit thread above, it's been moved here: http://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/1cnwms/mods_removed_th...

Updated -- thanks.

Older reddit thread hit limit and crashed. New link


What limits exist on a thread?

Certain threads generate enormous amounts of activity, and the reddit infrastructure will automatically place those threads into a temporary 'Read Only Mode'. This effectively ends the thread when it revolves around rapid updates, so redditors normally start 'Incident Thread 2', then 3, and so on.

During the Boston Marathon bombing, there were, if I remember correctly, over a dozen threads that continued the original conversation, simply because each of the previous threads kept getting hammered by people posting comments.

I guess I'm just curious on the technical side, about why they go into a temporary read-only mode. What issues forced that to be implemented?

I am mostly wondering whether it's the threaded nature of a thread on Reddit that makes this a difficult problem, or whether this is reflective of some limitation in the underlying datastore or something.

It's because a the database isn't completely agnosticly load-balanced, and a single story is stored/processed with more co-locality than a random sample of, say, 10000 randomly chosen comments.

It's easier to cache and serve a fixed piece of content than to constantly insert and re-compress it (which kills cached versions too)

100,000 users clicking reload every second. 500 posts per second. And there's a text capacity on an article text body.

buro9 : This is just a complete conjecture. I do not know Reddit's internal hardware infrastructure. I just know that real-time police radio transcription is the best news source, bar none. And it's getting hammered.


Are those are by-products of the threaded display? As a flat display of a thread would just result in new pages at the end, all of which would be incredibly cacheable.

Caching wont work for _extremely_ dynamic content like flash news update threads like these where >1 comments being posted _every_ second.

A much-needed mirror (broadcastify is getting slammed): http://tunein.com/radio/Boston-Police-Fire-and-EMS-Scanner-s...

Updated -- thanks!

phew. it sounds like it is finally over.

live video feed based on shots outside watertown house http://livewire.wcvb.com/Event/117th_Running_of_Boston_Marat...

Say what you want about the "enlightened liberal sensibilities" of the northeast, the Massachusetts death penalty sure is swift and efficient.

You should hold off on that judgement, e.g. there's plenty of talk about suicide vests, or injuries that go beyond just gun shots.

ADDED: There's no particularly kind and gentle way to deal with someone throwing explosives at you....

My judgement was based on the dozen or so news agencies reporting "killed early Friday in a violent standoff with the police." But you're right, maybe they're all incorrect.

To hypothesize the least violent encounter I can imagine where the use of lethal force by the police would be justified:

If someone is advancing on you, a known explosives user (during the chase) who's from a region where the use of "suicide vests" is common, and refuses to stop, you without hesitation shoot to stop. And at as far a distance as you can.

The encounter could have been more violent on the part of the deceased, or since he killed a fellow officer it could have been an execution as all too often happens like recently in California. But the event was probably more confused than any of what I'd said here might imply.

All I can say that we know by inference is that the event was confused enough, and/or there were few enough police there, that his brother escaped---actually, I don't think we know that, the brother might have been let off before the stop---and has obviously successfully gone to ground. Likely into an apartment or home, and they're going to have to search house to house, apartment to apartment, could take quite a while assuming he is inside the 25 block? cordoned off area in Watertown. Not too familiar with that suburb, but I lived in Cambridge and surrounding mostly urban suburbs for a dozen years, it's likely a densely populated area. Even with a maximum effort by all it could drag on for more than a day, or he could get flushed out a minute from now.

ADDED: while all current accounts from the media are highly suspect, this: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/19/report-boston-marathon... would fit in what else we've heard or can discern:

"According to WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve, MBTA transit police intercepted the Mercedes in Cambridge and followed it.

"A source told Shortsleeve the brothers lost control of the car and crashed it. A gunfight with police erupted and an MBTA police officer was shot and seriously wounded.

"Miller reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev threw a bomb at police as he approached them and that’s when officers shot and killed him.

"Shortsleeve’s source said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then jumped back in the Mercedes, drove over his brother’s body, threw bombs at police and crashed again. He ran off, firing a weapon and that sparked the massive manhunt in Watertown."

An MIT police officer was killed.

A university police officer has died after being shot on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge late Thursday, according to state police.


It may or may not be connected, but police in Boston have surrounded two men who are exchanging automatic gunfire them and have thrown grenades, another officer down. The grenades have been mentioned repeatedly, it's not 'I think I heard.'

http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/6254/web via Reddit.


That's in Watertown not Cambridge, so it sounds unrelated. All this stuff happening around Boston at the same time jeez


Watertown is the next town over, and just up the road from where they filled up with fuel after carjacking... so, yeah, looks like it might be very related.

I heard the carjacking reported on scanner while the MIT standoff was still going on, and there was a pretty short time between police at the MIT incident switching channels and some frantic-sounding talk from police following up on LoJack's report that the stolen car was in Watertown. So I'm inclined to believe these are two separate things.

Here's a helpful map of the events that happened so far that show the proximity of the various events:


The carjacking victim reported that they'd been driving around for about half an hour before he escaped at a gas station. Time's arrow beats proximity.

Occam's razor beats "time's arrow".

I see the place where the carjacker escaped, an area I know pretty well. They must have been driving around in circles for a long time. There's no way it takes 30 minutes to get that far at night in Cambridge.

Watertown is 10-15 minutes away from MIT. It seems likely that they were connected, given that there was a carjacking ~2 minutes away from MIT in Cambridge.

Note: the carjacking happened in the same direction from MIT as Watertown.


The Tech is "MIT's oldest and largest newspaper". https://twitter.com/thetech

I would like to add that the suspect made off with the officer's gun as well. That is according to what I heard on the police scanner.

Don't wish to make light of this at all, but I do wonder- how often does this happen? After all, "shots fired" is not an uncommon thing in many cities in the US.

I just wonder whether we will look back in 12 months time at the "week of hell" and realise that it was actually just a week in which we found all the things that usually go on every week that we don't hear about.

Gun violence is a very uncommon thing in Boston or Cambridge...it's big news here every time it happens. Now outside the city, in the areas where poor people live, it's a different story...but MIT and Harvard are located in some of the wealthiest, safest areas of Cambridge.

Just for the record, Roxbury and Dorchester are part of Boston proper, and gun violence is those neighborhoods are unfortunately too common:

http://www.universalhub.com/crime/dorchester.html http://www.universalhub.com/crime/roxbury.html

(I have family in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan)

Generally speaking, the areas around MIT and Harvard are relatively safe, although muggings and petty theft aren't unheard of. Things have been a lot better since they cleaned up Central Square in the 1990's.

There are a lot of MIT/Harvard folks who seem to have to have minimal knowledge of anything more than a couple of miles away from campus.

I agree that most of Cambridge and much of Boston are very safe and gun violence would be big news. But there are neighborhoods of Boston (ie officially part of Boston) that have shootings frequently. They are never reported unless there are deaths, and even then many people don't take notice.

Note that the following link only include incidents in which bullets actually hit people. http://www.bpdnews.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Shooting...

Agreed. I generally feel incredibly safe around Cambridge in general- let alone on Boylston St near the library, or anywhere on MIT's campus. At most I'd expect to have something stolen, car broken into or a common mugging around there- not a random shooter running around.

Hmmm, it was a year after I left the area, but in 1992 a student was stabbed to death in front of the main library by a local juvenile sociopath (who only served 10 years, Massachusetts "justice" being what it is), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Yngve_Raustein. And that was not much of a surprise based on the dozen years I'd spent in and around MIT before I left.

Has it really gotten a lot safer. not counting this unique sort of incident?

Boston has about 60 murders per year. 56% of murders in Massachusetts involve a firearm. Therefore, Boston sees about three murders involving a firearm per month on average.

This does not, of course, include justifiable homicides.

ETA: So as not to scare anyone remember that in major cities typically between 65% and 91% of murder victims are criminals, and most of the killings are gang related.

Still scary -- plenty of kids live in neighborhoods where they get dragged into gang turf issues.

Having never lived in the US, I find it astounding that you could make a comment like that and get so many nods.

I've never even heard a gunshot, and I don't know anyone who ever has.

The US is a big place, it depends on where you are. Where I grew up half the boys in my class would go deer hunting with their fathers. While gun violence was rare, guns were not. Now I live in Boston. Here there's literally the toughest gun laws in the country. There a very few legal guns in the city (and most of the illegal ones gravitate towards area of higher crime such as Roxbury), in fact a lot of the people I work with are even troubled with the fact that I know how to operate one. Its a different culture.

I shoot pretty regularly, so gunshots aren't foreign to me at all. But I would be seriously, seriously disturbed if I heard them off-range.

Generally, Americans do the "Out of sight, out of mind" thing when they hear about violence. They only care when it's happening in situations where they could see themselves.

Kid gets shot walking on the sidewalk in inner-city Camden for wearing the wrong color shirt? Meh, he was probably a gangbanger anyway.

Kid gets shot in Cambridge? Oh no, the sky is falling.

For a minute I thought you were talking about England there. Just replace "Americans" with "Brits" and the post still makes perfect sense.

Replace it with "humans"...

I live in the US and neither have I. Most people who live in cities in the US haven't either.

People outside the US have this image of people dodging bullets left and right as they walk down the street.

I say let's not fight that stereotype; it makes us sound agile and stuff.

When I used to live in Philadelphia, summer holiday nights used to be very unnerving. Previously I had thought that firing guns wildly into the air in some form of celebration was something that was only done in underdeveloped countries... I grew up in a very rural area where there were lots of guns, but nobody was that irresponsible with them.

> I had thought that firing guns wildly into the air in some form of celebration was something that was only done in underdeveloped countries...

...it is.


More accurately stated I suppose, I had previously thought I lived in a developed area.

And the hate America first crowd rolls on.

no, no, no, you're looking at it all wrong.

The crowd is not "Hate America".

The Crowd is "America needs to get better". The first step to fixing problems in to acknowledge they exist.

I don't know about you, I strive for constant improvement in my life.

Listen to the uncle of the bombers, he has more sense than you.

At the very least, in the specific case of people firing their guns wildly into the air on holidays, I think it is fair to say that there is plenty of room for improvement.


I don't think he was suggesting it should be made illegal to do that, and obviously I know that it already is...

I am quite pro-gun (remember the part about growing up around a lot of responsible gun owners?), but you making the kind of comments that make me strongly reconsider identifying that way. Hurling insults around does not contribute to the discussion; it is just childish and makes you look desperate.


He has backed up that statement, while you have done nothing but hurl insults. I understand that you may feel insulted by what he said, but that is no excuse for the quality of your comments.

Feels like Reddit around here, with that guy deleting all his comments when you pin him down...

I can keep insulting you if you like.

Sure. By all means.

Of course, as jlgreco pointed out, you're only showing your ignorance to the topic and hand by trying to deflect the real issue with insults at me. It's shocking/hilarious/sad you need to resort to that, instead of actually addressing the issue at hand.

I don't think shooting in the air is really an issue in the US. I do feel bad for insecure souls that need to believe America is an underdeveloped nation. Or were you joking about that?

I don't believe America is an underdeveloped nation, exactly.

If you compare stats for all the factors that really make a difference for quality of life for the average person on the street (healthcare, education, death rates, crime rates, pollution, safety, etc. just to name a few), you'll see America is very often comparable to developing nations, and not often comparable to developed nations. In many cases, it's staggering far behind the best in the world.

Food for thought.

I'm not from Europe at all.

I'm from one of the Developed countries that ranks above the US in every major category that counts.


It's always so interesting to see Americans who interpret "make it better" as "taking pot shots"

What's so inherently wrong with admitting there are problems and working towards improving them?


He has named it. It is Australia.

Do you have a link?

I grew up in a less rural area, edge of Joplin, MO, across a significant road there was a working farm, turn left 90 degrees the local college, and while I've heard utility gun fire (often ours), don't think I've ever heard a shot in anger. Which would also include the dozen years I spent in and around MIT and then another dozen in the D.C. area.

Amen to that sentiment!

Although, I've been there couple of times, yes I totally agree with you. A couple of times in my visit, gun shots plus/followed by siren wails in the distance have had the combined effect of inducing sleepless nights and prayer-mode in me, many times. :-)

I know, I know... crossing the street, swimming, etc., all carry equal risks, but for a lot of people like me, "rat-a-tat" and "bang-bang-kapwing" is great, as long as it is seen on comic books, films and cheesy batman TV serials.

Umm... The risk might be equal to those things, but where you normally live doesn't have a gun risk anywhere near that high. It's like saying that an astronauts risk if blowing up on the launch pad is the same as his risk of being hit by a car. It might be true, but most people don't have that risk (or the stress and fear it causes, which may elevate the risk of other health issues).

Heh, it seems so weird to hear somebody say that. My maternal grandfather purchased my first rifle for me before I was born. When I was about 9 or so, my dad gave it to me, and took me out and taught me to shoot, taught me gun safety and - maybe most importantly - drilled into my head the importance of respect for human life, and how you never point a gun at someone unless you absolutely need to kill them (because they are an active threat to your own safety).

Then again, I grew up in a very rural area, but guns are - from my perspective - an absolutely routine, normal, everyday part of life. I guess that's why I find it so hard to "get" the mindset of the radical antigunners here, who act like guns are intrinsically "evil" and seem to think that a gun can pick itself up off a table and go out and shoot somebody.

I once lived in a part of Los Angeles that at one point I heard at least two gun shootings per week for about a year. Fortunately every year since about 7 years ago shootings in that area gradually declined.

Yes and no, I think. The government building evacuations and suspicious package stories on Tuesday got a lot more attention than normal, but the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion was extremely dramatic and probably not hyped up by simply being days after the bombings.

Too late to edit this post, but boy was I wrong...

When I was at MIT, I don't recall a single on-campus shooting.

Seconded (2000-2004). And I've lived near campus ever since, and nothing like this has happened. Some shootings in Central Square, but never on campus. I'd say this is a pretty big deal.

And HN should care - Stata is full of CS people.

Edit: dates

I went to MIT as an undergrad and on my very first day there, there was a gunfight right outside my dorm window between police and an armed fugitive. Next House was under construction at the time, and the fugitive ran into the construction site and fired back. It was exactly like a scene in a movie.

I'd like to tell you what happened next, but I got down on the floor until the commotion ended.

But yes, this was not a common occurrence.

I think Symmetry and I might recall the same event, in April 2003; a shooting near Random Hall that resulted in death (not a student).


The worst part is it happened during pre-frosh weekend, when admitted high school students were invited to visit and experience MIT for a few days.

A fair number of muggings with knives/guns in Cambridge, though. (I had someone pull a knife on me near the Harvard Bridge Boston side late at night).

"On campus" is kind of a more vague thing with MIT than with some other schools, since it was in the 1990s and before a very open campus in the middle of a city, with a few major roads running through it.

I agree the "on campus" line for MIT can be pretty fuzzy (between the open campus, frats/ILGs across the river in Boston and so on).

That being said, there are more objective measures we could use, such as "made The Tech" (outside the police log), which this already has.

Somewhere around 2004 someone was shot in the head at a restaurant across from Random Hall as part of some drug related dispute. I heard the shot, but thought at first it was part of a video game my friend was playing. And that cook at the student center was stabbed not that long ago in some other dispute not related to students.

While I was there, there were no shootings, but two stabbings. Both by people known to the victims, though, not random acts of violence. Not that that makes it any better or anything. :-/

Me neither, I was there from 1982-1996. There was one knifing on Mem Drive during that period.

Me neither (1994-2000).

I'm hearing a cop was shot.

So this is a bit meatier a problem.

weisser posted this below http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/theres-shoot...

lots more details

Just heard on the police scanner that it was an armed robbery at the 7-11.

Presumably the one across the street from campus on Main St., for those not from the area. (ETA: And assuming that the police report is accurate.)

Also might have been unrelated incidents... Scanner traffic just reported shooting in Stata, and I don't know why a 7-11 robber would go inside Stata.

Botched the robbery, and panicked?

Maybe. Also based on a photo of the crime scene that was sent out, it looks the officer was shot right outside Stata, so the robber could have been running through campus.

Under the circumstances, I think this is an excellent, clear-headed point that more of us should meditate upon :) . Could we all try to please upvote this to the top.

EDIT: Comments below me that are pointing out that this is a big deal as far as MIT is concerned....... please refer to the OP's full remarks (and michaelochurch's addendum). I'll highlight a small point from OP's remark:

>> After all, "shots fired" is not an uncommon thing in many cities in the US.

^^^That^^^. I am pretty sure it is unique and uncommon for wherever it is currently happening. I empathise with people there, and honest to God, for someone not from the USA, I would be pretty freaked out if I were to be living there.

But on the whole gun-related incidents are not that uncommon to begin with on a when viewed from County/State/Country perspective -- which the OP wants us to remember and meditate at this point.

P.S: There were some Coursera course(s) also, that actually tackle this point more scientifically. But, now is not the time to be Spock!

EDIT 2: Ahh, I just noticed the timeline on those comments, they are older than my comment. Ooops. I'll let my comments stand, as I feel they summarise the OP's point in some detail, but letting people know, I am aware of my small faux-paus.

On or very close to a college campus in Boston/Cambridge? Fairly uncommon...

Shots fired often? San Jose, yes. Right next door in Santa Clara? No. The majority of SC "10-57" calls turn out to be fireworks. People around here sure love their illegal aerial (!) fireworks.

I know this from listening to the scanner regularly.

Like so many things, "it depends".

I just wonder whether we will look back in 12 months time at the "week of hell"

The mid-April week has always had a higher-than-normal rate of manic-type (e.g. spree killings) violence, and there are a lot of theories about it (spring inciting grandeur in unstable men) but no one knows why. Those are very rare, high-visibility events, though. Overall, that time is no more dangerous than any other. (There's only about a +/- 5 percent seasonal difference in violent crime, with summer and December being the worst).

I've certainly read before that it being tax day brings out the 'crazies', which makes at least some semblance of sense.

Tax day is a factor, but other anniversaries are likely to set off right-wing assailants. OKC and Waco both occurred in mid-April. Hitler was born and died in April (relevant only for certain brands of right-wing assailants).

April is the cruelest month.

Julius Caesar was murdered in March/April, as I recall!

"Beware the Ides of March".

He he... That's the one :-)

Columbine shooting was april too I believe

Yeah, but that is most likely because it was AH birthday.

[citation needed]

I saw the headline and was thinking the exact same thing. I live in San Jose, CA and hear shots at night a few times a week.

Some crime happens on a college campus probably every day. Most likely hundreds of violent crimes a year. But the reason this is on HN is MIT, nothing more.

I don't think there's a report of an officer down on a campus every day.

"some crime"

Not to belittle petty theft, but "two officers down" is really not just "some crime".

We recently built an app that tracks this based on official US government data - per the Cleary act every US college that receives Federal funds must declare their on-campus crime rate. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/campus-sentinel/id513108130?... - you can compare MIT to other campuses.

Why is it 22.6MB?

A bulky framework, perhaps?

all the data is local ... and it's a lot of data

MIT has under 50 violent crimes per year.

They do have several hundred non-violent crimes per year.

Or because it is connected to the terrorist attack on monday...

I wasn't at the time, dude.

i was a bit surprised seeing this on top of HN - i feel its out of place. anyone else?

Many fellow hackers in the Boston/Cambridge area?


There is a serious problem with HN when stories like this get so many up-votes. This story is against the site guidelines. There isn't anything deeply interesting in the comments.

"Second officer down, hand grenades and automatic gunfire."

In Watertown, Spruce and Lincoln.


To expand, there was an armed carjacking in Cambridge by two men. The carjacking victim escaped after a half hour. Lojack on the car led officers to Watertown. When officers found the car, reports of shots fired, explosions / grenades and a running gun battle.

Update: one suspect reportedly in custody en route to hospital. Sounds like second suspect has been taken into custody as well. Later update: NOT clear that second suspect is in custody.

Edit: Rough location of the armed confrontation where the suspect(s) were taken into custody and the second officer was reported down. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=spruce+st,+Cambridge,+MA&...

Thanks for adding more details. It's hard to keep the updates going.

Update (1:41am est): Does not seem like second suspect is currently in custody...

Sounds like most of the Watertown stuff moved to a different channel to free up regular traffic. Do you know how to stream that?

It's still working on the same link...


Some people are having trouble getting it to load. 50k listeners - that may be higher than when I was listening after the bombing - try a couple different windows and refreshing. Once connected it's very clear audio (I've been listening flawlessly for over 30 minutes).

Not sure about other mirrors but they must exist. Edit: Here's a mirror - http://tunein.com/radio/Boston-Police-Fire-and-EMS-Scanner-s...

The stream is working for me, it's just that a lot of the radio traffic about Watertown has moved to "channel 1"

Being able to hear this happen in real time is surreal.

Something big definitely just happened. I have never seen so many police cars drive so fast in the same direction. They were all heading north on Mass Ave from me, which is consistent with that location.

The feed is no longer working for me, maybe too much traffic? Does anyone know of a live transcript?

If scanner link stopped working for you, try http://www.hack3r.com/ocyrus/bostonscanner.m3u

Similar information available at the Tech twitter stream: https://twitter.com/thetech

Live WHDH coverage

Streaming video:


Live WCVB coverage

Streaming video:


UPDATE: -------

[1] Image of Suspect #1 lying on the ground earlier suspected to have explosives underneath his clothing.

[2] Took into custody only after fully undressing.

[3] Was put in police vehicle naked.


Isn't this insane?

I'm watching http://www1.whdh.com/video/7newslive muted along with the police scanner. I cannot believe these crazy TV news people...

I believe news 7 did a live report in front of the family's home of a person that died at the marathon...at 11pm. They really are heartless.

Well, you are watching.


Moments ago, WCVB had a live shot of the suspect lying on the ground arms stretched in front of him on the asphalt with police officers guns drawn but receding from him.

He may have warned them of detonating possible explosives on him.


GABE RAMIREZ (CNN Photojournalist)

Suspect was taken into custody after disrobing fully.

Suspect was put in the police vehicle "fully undressed."

"Thin darker skinned individual"

"There was a shooting at 32 Vassar St... No suspect description... No direction of flight..." MIT officer was shot and weapon stolen, I think they said the weapon was recovered. Officer is at MGH. Witness in lobby of Stata saw man in cowboy hat.

(All that on the police scanner in the last minute or so)

Live stream of police scanner: http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/6254/web

Thanks for this.

Kinda feels weird sitting in Jamaica listening to the police scanner around MIT.

Kinda awesome too - I know the tech is simple...but actually experiencing it, gives you this "world is small" feeling.

I would dearly love to be able to listen to the Jamaican police scanner!

Hrmmm....now that I think about it...so would I!

I wonder how that could be arranged.

Im sitting on the couch in Auckland, New Zealand feeling the same.

I'm hearing it was armed robbery with life threatening injuries to the MIT police officer: http://www.wcvb.com/MIT-campus-police-officer-shot/-/9849586... https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1015157344...

On MBTA police scanner I hear hipsanic, possibly wearing a cowboy hat, with blood on him

Anyone else get the feeling we are we making HN become like every news/forum site now? Reporting every and any shot fired anywhere in the world?

I would imagine that MIT is particularly close to the hearts of many on this site.

Sigh. That justifies spamming HN?

Yep, despite the HN guidelines noting that stories about crime are off topic and "If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic." But, really, if people are voting these stories up, it's democracy in action, off topic or not. It's also ok to flag them as per guidelines.

via the Atlantic Wire: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/theres-shoot...

MIT issued an emergency alert at 10:48 on Monay night reporting shots fired on the university campus. The school newspaper reports, "Shots fired near 32 Vassar St (Stata Center), police officer down. Please stay inside." For now, details are scarce, but the suspect is on the loose and considered armed and extremely dangerous.

This is a developing story. We'll update you as new information comes in.

The MIT shooter was one of the marathon bombing terrorists according to CNN if I got it correctly


> The search followed a violent night in which authorities say the men allegedly hurled explosives at pursuers after killing a university police officer, robbing a convenience store and hijacking a car.

> ...Soon after, in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was fatally shot while he sat in his car, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said in statement. Police believe the bombing suspects were responsible for the shooting.

One marathon suspect has been captured, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation.

Another remains on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. Authorities have established a 20-block perimeter as they search for him.

Via Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/18/mit-police-offic...

Does this source seem accurate? Remember that the globe AND CNN previously claimed an arrest in the marathon bombings had been made and it was incredibly embarrassing.

The article has been updated to clarify that this is merely speculative:

> Authorities would not comment on whether the events were connected to Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. At least one of the suspects in Watertown appeared to be a man in his 20s.

However, the first paragraph still says basically what it said when you posted.

> One suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings has been captured

"MIT officer was shot and firearm was stolen. No suspect description, no direction of flight, happened about 45 minutes ago, was an MIT officer, is at Mass General now."

Manually transcribed from police scanner: http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/6254/web

On the police scanner, I'm hearing shots fired, grenades, and explosives. Wow. This is not going well.

EDIT: And officer down. That's been confirmed again.

EDIT 2: Two suspects down, one sent to hospital.

"definitely hand grenades and automatic gunfire, and a second officer down".

Holy shit... WTF is going on up there?!?

RT @NBCConnecticut: #Breaking : Mass State Police confirm #MIT officer wounded in shooting has died.

Apparently the shooters carjacked a Mercedes and headed towards Watertown (~7mi away) and are throwing explosives

Update: One suspect in custody

"All units retreat."

Sounds like there are explosives...

REMEMBER this is a chase that went from MIT to Watertown. This is NOT at MIT...far away now.

Edit again. Much better collection of pics


"The MIT officer, a member of the Cambridge Police Department, died from his wounds just before midnight."

Please link to the source for quotations like that (or cite it if it's not a webpage).

They are advising all officers to power down their cell phones for fear of explosion. This is bad.

They're talking about robots on the scene with "devices". It sounds like there are some suspicious devices, potentially explosives. Yikes.

1st suspect had explosive object on his person that detonated when he was caught - possibly what killed him.

They need to be incredibly careful with the 2nd suspect if we want any conclusive answers to why all of this happened.

MIT Emergency Update: "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"

Possibly related carjacking after the shooting: https://twitter.com/NewsBreaker/status/325105581968994306

Another unfortunate incident in Boston. MIT Police is bringing things under control. MIT has reported one MIT officer killed and have again requested everyone to be indoors.

Hope Boston becomes normal soon

Set up http://fastlane.grasswire.com to follow it - hopefully the aggregate of all social media can be of some help

I have an exam at 7am tomorrow, please don't crash it again guys. Thanks!!

I find it very interesting, that there are such websites. I wonder whether it works, but I guess that if only one life is saved by a notice on a website, that is enough

Well if you truly meant one life saved fair enough.

So you'd have to deducted the people killed in making sites like these first. So a web site is possibly $40,000. A humans life in the US is probably worth around $2,000,000. So it might cost one 50th of a humans life to create a site like this.

I'd guess not, but the figures are complicated, the site is used for other things for starters.

I'd suspect a suicide help line would be better money spent. Don't drink and drive campaigns, healthy eating, quitting smoking help all far better returns I'd guess.

1. Human lives are valued at between $6 and $8 million in the US.

This is not what can be produced in the average human life, which is probably more like $1 million as I estimated recently here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5543848 . Instead, it's how much it costs to save a human life on the margin, which is the applicable number here.

2. My impression from previous things I've read is that suicide lines are largely ineffective.

The figure I've seen is $2-4mm (based on payouts from life insurance by the government, etc.), but this was a few years ago, so maybe inflation.

Obviously there are huge differences between humans.

Life insurance payouts are actually an even worse measure of value here. Life insurance payouts should be set by the liabilities left over when someone dies (i.e. children that still need to be raised). A person with no dependents doesn't need life insurance (except for funeral expenses), but that doesn't mean orders of magnitude less should be spent to save their life.

Should be but frequently are not. Life insurance is frequently based on current income rather than current liabilities, and that is before we get into known cases of fraud involving murder for the insurance money.

Still I agree with you. Have a couple of upvotes. You can put a dollar value on a human life but it doesn't really cover it. Life is more than dollars and cents.

There are things at play other than life or death. Let's say you work on campus. There's a shooting and you're freaking out and there all kinds of rumors circulating about what you should do. When's it safe to leave? Should you evacuate? etc. Having a central place where all of that is available is valuable to a huge number of people. Multiply that number by whatever monetary value you attach to that peace of mind and you end up with something that certainly justifies the cost.

Are you kidding us?

You cannot compare 'human lives' by comparing dollars. And surely, the site does not "cost" one 50th of "a" human life.

Economists figure these things out by looking at how much people value their own lives (e.g. how much of a salary increase people expect for high risk jobs). The figures calculated are surprisingly low (IIRC ~$300,000 for an Australian in the late 90s). You need to do this kind of analysis to do cost/benefit analysis -- e.g. should we spend money on making a road safer or building a new hospital?

According to Wikipedia -- $6-7M per life in the US.


Not to be a dick, but is an MIT student life valued higher than an average US citizen? I ask this in terms of average production value.

I wonder if someone would be brave enough to even predict these figures.

If you can save 1 life by spending $2.5M and instead you build 50 websites for $50k then it is reasonable to say that the site cost 1/50th of a human life.

My last job was doing websites for higher education, and I can tell you that it's very much a thing. It's a part of many universities' emergency protocols, sometimes paired with an alert banner on the homepage. (And that banner may or may not link to a further page of information.)

While things like a gunman on campus is most certainly an emergency, these systems also serve other messages. Things like other emergencies (earthquakes, for example), snow days, we're just testing the emergency alarms today, etc.

Edit because I had another thought: the whole field of emergency preparedness in higher education is rather fascinating. Most of what I found interesting I had heard second-hand from clients, but you might find it quite interesting.

Sloppy joe day

Yes like he said emergencies.

At this point that most higher-ed websites not only have their emergency website, but also a whole system. A lot of universities send out text messages simultaneously.

Yup. These messages are also sent to MIT students (and, I assume, faculty) via text message, automated phone call, and email.

This is beamed out to sites that people are actually likely to be looking at meaning it is all inbound to that link. I saw it appear on my FB feed moments after it was posted. My Tweetdeck column for "MIT shooter" is moving nearly as rapidly as the one for #BostonMarathonExplosion and almost everyone is sharing the link to them MIT site.

You know I had never thought about that, but Twitter really is the rapid alert system nowadays. You only really need to push messages to a few select parties then boom, everyone knows. It has to be as effective or more than any other alert system we use.

At my old uni, you could submit a cell number to an emergency alert system and you would get texts if something like this went down. I'm guessing MIT has something similar although not sure if this system is part of it. I'm sure someone will clarify soon.

I wrote a system that did that for students. It was a ton of fun to work on. And then it didn't work because the cell phone towers couldn't handle it. So of course they scrapped my code, went with a third-party system, and had the same problem.

Text messages during emergencies? Not a chance. Not when they don't even work for a simple test (hour delays!)

MIT's system has been alerting me with automated phone calls and text messages within minutes of emergency reports. I've been really pleased with the speed of the system.

My uni has just that, and the nagging question I keep asking myself is just how much money are they spending on that service that is profoundly useless. When there is an emergency the police show up damn quick, and there is nothing to be gained for people on the other side of campus to receive a text that building X is on fire. I feel the money would be of more use elsewhere.

Many places face hazards that have a delay before hitting - tsunami is one I know of specifically, and gunmen wondering around would seem to be relevant here. How is this not the best sort of alert system?

> Many places face hazards that have a delay before hitting

You ask yourself how people dealt with large-scale civil emergencies before cellphones became widespread. There were such things as warning sirens, and of course the police with loudspeaker vans. They are still doing that today - every time a hurricane is set to hit Miami the emergency services make the rounds of low-lying areas to get the word out to the homeless.

And a gunman or shooter on campus just cannot be hid - people shout warnings, someone will alert the police, who will then cordon off the area. The costs for the messaging system are obvious, high, and altogether the thing appears more like ass-covering for the administration than something that has tangible benefits.

Loud speakers aren't very effective if populations are spread out, or if one speaker fails many may be uninformed. However I agree SMS isn't a perfect solution either. The phone may be off, people may not have one, low signal etc. It's one more tool to communicate with as I see it.

And in fact my girlfriend, who graduated more recently than I did, got a text message tonight about the situation.

Explosives detonated according to the MIT newspaper, The Tech: https://www.facebook.com/themittech

Am I crazy or does the person in this photo sort of resemble one of the people in the marathon suspect pictures released by the FBI? http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/759765692....

I was wrong. But news outlets are reporting the people responsible for this tragedy are the same people suspected for the Boston Marathon bombing.

Police are being asked to power down their cellphones to avoid possibly detonating some explosive devices.

"multiple locations of devices"... Damn.

I'm mapping stuff from the reddit thread here - http://goo.gl/maps/uz6kt

Anyone can edit.

An intense twitter feed on the shootout: https://twitter.com/akitz

I see from the report that they are urging people to stay away from 32 specifically. Can anyone clarify if they have someone trapped inside the building, or are they just trying to keep people away from the police net?

It sounds like the suspect fled in an unknown direction.

Hope everyone stays safe!

Marathon Bomber's Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/J_tsar #conversationswithothersuspects

Sounds like things are still pretty sketchy up there. Lots of shouting about possibly another active shooter on the loose. Wow, just wow...

Stay safe everyone.

Police scanner warns of "explosive object on his person" for the one suspect at large 1:33a pst.

Update: Removing info about suspicious MIT package since it has been verified as harmless.

cambridge police on twitter. I live here. Its a somewhat automated system, but the sometime respond to questions.


They are telling that the shooting is related to the marathon bombing.

a good police scanner feed from the area: http://scanner.wickedlocal.com/metro/cambridge.php


NO. Unsure why that is saying edited 4 minutes ago but they are linking to the AP article from Feb 23rd which did turn out to be a hoax.

This is the article they link to: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/mit-lockdown-after-reports-ar...

This seems to be confusing what is happening right now with what happened a few months ago: http://tech.mit.edu/V133/N7/hoax.html

MIT has NOT called off the lock down yet: http://emergency.mit.net/

It seems one suspect (at least) connected to the shootings (as heard on the BPD scanner) was identified by reddit user yesterday ID'ed the brown male guy - Sunil Tripathi. Wow!

the Sunil Tripathi thread started when his roomate saw the FBI photos and said on Twitter that it is Sunil


The suspect although brown is a US national brought up in Bryn Mawr, PA.


Boston is not having a good week.

FWIW there have been other shootings in Boston since the marathon. They've just been in places like Dudley Square that the national media don't care about. At least five people were shot in Boston on Wednesday night. http://www.universalhub.com/crime/20130417-night-bloodshed-t...

There is something a bit perverse about the disparity in the media attention given to violence that occurs north of the Mass Pike versus south of the Pike.

Family of missing Brown university student Sunil Tripathi has taken down the Facebook page dedicated to him.



Cached version of FB page :


Twitter account :


ABC News segment from March 30, 2013:


Police scanner identifies the names of Boston marathon suspects.

Suspect 1: Mike Mulugeta

Suspect 2: Sunil Tripathi

Source(s) :





Middlesex DA: One suspect ( donning a black hat in previously released FBI images ) is dead, second suspect is at large, and is believed to be armed and dangerous.




Boston PD releases picture of Suspect 2 retrieved earlier from the 7-Eleven convenience store, possibly the site of the carjacking.




Home video footage from a street in Watertown where the exchange of gunfire took place earlier in the night, during which Suspect 1 may have been killed.



Photo of billboard displaying a missing person alert for Sunil Tripathi


> Family of missing Brown university student Sunil Tripathi has taken down the Facebook page dedicated to him.

This has to really suck for them. I can't imagine what they must be going through right now...

Edit: Just 10 days ago his family and friends made this video: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Missing-Brown-Stud...

To go from that to discovering he's one of the marathon bombers...

Edit 2: Looks like he isn't a suspect after all (someone said his name on the police scanner and it spread through the net like wildfire): https://twitter.com/BuzzFeedAndrew/status/325176638537076736

This is really heartbreaking. By all accounts, that guy had exceptional friends and family who really cared for him. By the looks of it he is/was intelligent, from a reasonably affluent background, well educated, surrounded by incredibly nice and loving people. 99.99% of us would have good reason to be jealous of this background, I certainly am. One can only speculate what insanity drove him to do this.

Update: it looks like that was utterly false information, originally spewed into the ether by Punditpress. I'm really glad it didn't turn out to be this guy. I hope they do find him or he decides to go home again.

This whole thread puts HN to shame. It is a shame on all of us. Horrific. Just horrific. Shame on the people who threw some innocent Brown (yes, the school, not the skin color) kid under the bus, or MIT or whatever other school. The kid is missing and his family gets death threats for something he didn't do. They even had to take down their searching for him page. Shame on all of us for participating in this.

It pains me to admit this, but your self-righteous indignation is justified. Like I said, I just hope something positive comes out of this and the increased awareness leads to him being found, or better: him deciding it's time to go home to such an amazing group of people who clearly love him very much.

Speak for yourself.

I flagged the entire thread immediately. I suggest you do the same in the future. This does not belong on HN.

> To go from that to discovering he's one of the marathon bombers...

Wait, is that confirmed?

I read this:


which seemed legit, until I read the source:


which seems really sketchy. I've seen it a bunch of places, making it seem like it was confirmed but people are now refuting it:


I hope for his family's sake it's not him.

Edit: And it seems confirmed that it isn't: http://hosted2.ap.org/CAANR/e109e277e48c4e219e07a1d4710177b3...

They're saying it was two Russians now on WCVB. Not sure how credible that is yet. On the other hand, the mere existence of that information on Punditpress is a good reason to doubt its accuracy.

Update: It's semi-official now (on WCVB): the two men were apparently from Chechnya.

Can this please be taken down?

AP just confirmed the name of the second suspect and it's not one of those above.

You're smearing innocents.

Adding this here since this is the top comment:

Suspects are Chechnyan brothers: 19 and 20.

1. Tamerlan Tsarnaev [dead]

2. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev [still at large]

Dzhokhar is trapped somewhere in a 20 block radius in the town of Watertown, that is being searched by the police.

[1]: Live Google News Updates: https://goo.gl/f5HTZ

[2]: https://aljazeera.com/watch_now

I certainly do hope someone is going to take this down. I did downvote it when the post was first made, but it seems like people have gone crazy over there in the States, what with the public naming and blaming of "suspects".

WCVB is reporting that [NAME 1] has died from his wounds [1]. [NAME 2] is still at large — the police are setting up a perimeter and the search will become much easier in several hours when the sun rises.

[1] http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/metro/Boston-Marathon-suspect...

EDIT: As I follow the news, it becomes clearer that a large majority of the information is coming from the police scanner. It is interesting to see the way old and new technologies are mixing in the coverage. The reddit thread is essentially a scraper of the scanner; it is very useful to have access to the transcription of important audio because you can take breaks without worrying about missing something.

EDIT 2: Because the names haven't been confirmed yet (Pete Williams says that Tripathi is not suspect #2), and have been removed from the original article, I thought I would change my post accordingly. The names were picked up from the BPD scanner.

[NAME 1: Mike Mulugeta]

[NAME 2: Sunil Tripathi]

The article does not use either of those names.

Those names were redacted. I can also attest that the same names were mentioned as the lead suspects.

I am still listening to the police feed as I type.

It was from here: http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/6254/web

From which police officer? I do not know. Probably command central.

Mentioned by whom, where?

NBC/MSNBC now reporting that Sunil is NOT the suspect at large.

"Speculation that one of bombing suspects is a missing student is not correct, sources tell @PeteWilliamsNBC"

via https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/325178091947323392

"White hat guy" vs "Sunil Tripathi"


They look like different people to me.

They look pretty similar to me.

I feel this is horrible way of morphing the two pics, the lips are totally different in proportions, that is the hardest thing to morph. Any wrong assumptions can get someone killed, please refrain. Calm down people.

Oh, I don't know who either of the two is, I was just remarking that they look similar. Can someone clarify?

At that resolution level, the second image should look similar.

Heck video games depended on people filling in the blanks when using low rez sprites to convey information, and it still works swimmingly.

People will see everything from Marlin Brando to the Mona Lisa in low resolution images, while their brain will happily fill in the blanks.

Sure, but I mean to ask "who's white hat guy" and "what does Sunil have to do with either of the two attacks"? I saw the name thrown about here but nobody really clarified.

Ah, Redditors were in a large thread looking at the marathon bomb blast pictures, to identify suspects. Someone on reddit linked pictures of one suspect to the missing student, Sunil.

Really? What kind of hacker are you if you don't think about basic statistics and false positives? Jeez... The readership here has dropped to the level of slime mold. I guess I'm starting to fall into this category myself.

It's a basic statement of fact. They look similar to me. I don't know where statistics come into that in your mind.

I have yet to see an actual news outlet use either of these two names. There have been plenty of tweets referring to a police scanner without anyone actually confirming that the names were used.

I would not trust tweets regarding the names going out over the radio.

I was a mile away from the bombings and I'm a Brown graduate. It's seriously freaking me out.


  08.49: The names Sunil or Sunny have been heard on the
  Boston police scanner tonight referring to Suspect No 2,
  the man who is still on the run. Sunil Tripathi, a
  philosophy major at Brown University has been missing for
  a month. Local press reports say that Boston police have
  identified him as a suspect.

  Mr Tripathi is described as a left-wing Marxist of 
  Indian Brahmin descent, whose father is a successful
  software developer. His family set up a Twitter account
  and a Facebook page last month to help the search for 
  him. Mr Tripathi was first identified as a suspect in a
  crowdsleuthing exercise on the Reddit website.

  The other suspect, who was wearing the black hat, has 
  been named as Mike Mulugeta. He is thought to have died 
  in hospital after a shoot-out with police.

  Their identities have not been officially confirmed.


"Brahmin"!? His caste is relevant, how, exactly? Only a British (or worse, Indian) newspaper would find the necessity to point out the caste of some person being tried by a public mob based on things heard on a police scanner.

I have never read an Indian newspaper making reference to someone's caste unless it was somewhat related to the story.

You are right - Indian newspapers usually refer to it only when it is at least tangentially relevant - eg. usually they'll refer to some politician's caste. I consider this to be just as bad because it continues to put caste front and center as a factor to be considered when evaluating a political.

The AP just reported that they are from Russia. https://twitter.com/AP/status/325196873486962688

Update: AP now reports the suspect is Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev https://twitter.com/AP/status/325198361428893698

The update you quoted above has conveniently been deleted from the source now that the AP has done some real reporting and identified the Russian suspects.

UPDATE 5: Massachusetts Bay Transpiration Authority is currently suspending all service at request of Boston police.




Commuter rail far from the city is closed as well, full system shutdown.

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