Two Boston University buildings were evacuated by police on Friday after a caller claiming to have "guns and explosives" said he was barricaded inside the library and had shot a hostage.
"I saw a police officer come in in with an assault rife and bullet proof vest and he told us to get the heck of here so we did," said student Asher Feldman.
Nothing was found, according to police, who said it appears to have been a hoax.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said the initial call came in around 8:30 a.m. from a male saying that he was barricaded inside a booby-trapped room on the fourth floor of BU's Mugar Memorial Library. A short time later, he called back and said he had just shot a hostage inside that room. Police said it was not a robocall, and the caller claimed to have "guns and explosives."
"Unfortunately a lot of this is going on around the country and that is why we took it seriously," Evans said.
Evans said BU and Boston police responded, and were able to clear the fourth floor and the rest of the building.
"It was very methodical," he said. "You can't take these hoaxes without checking them out. We treated it very much like it was the real deal."
In a Boston University Police alert texted to students, authorities warned students to stay away from 771 Commonwealth Ave., the address for the Mugar Memorial Library. The adjacent George Sherman Union building was also evacuated.
Commonwealth Avenue was closed starting at the Boston University Bridge, according to state police, and pedestrians were not allowed to go near the area, including via the Esplanade. The roads have since been reopened, but state police troopers will still in be in the area, and drivers were warned to expect delays.
BU said in a tweet around 10:30 a.m. that the Mugar Library and the George Sherman Union had reopened and were resuming normal operations and that police had cleared the area.
"If we find out who did it, obviously, we'll prosecute them," he said.
A witness said she was on the fourth floor of the library when a "quiet" message came over the intercom around 8:40 a.m. that anyone in the building had to go to the first floor to evacuate.
When she went to the first floor, she said the area was filled with police "yelling at students to stay away from the building and to go to the other side of the street."
One student said he got up to go to class and saw a police officer with a bulletproof vest and an assault rifle coming in.
"He just basically told us to get the hell out of there," he said.
He said one of his professors said was on the third floor of the library and told him he saw three officers "pointing guns everywhere."
"I was just hoping for the best, because you don't want it to be true," student Maggie DeLorie said. "It is a relief that it was a hoax."
The incident happened during a busy time on campus with finals drawing near.
"It definitely caused a lot of disruption to the city and the students at BU," said DeLorie.
Acting BU Police Chief Scott Pare described his feelings toward the incident in one word--frustration.
"A lot of people, especially the students who are trying to study, academic study, [are] going to be disturbed," Pare added.
"People do crazy stuff for attention," said student Jackie Conteras. "It sucks it has to be on such a beautiful day like this. They seem like they took care of it, so, just glad everyone is okay."\
Police have not identified the caller who made the threats.
The incident is currently under investigation.