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Bermuda MIT student evades campus horror

A Bermudian student in Boston has had a second brush with terror just days after witnessing the bomb attacks in the city that killed three people and left 170 injured.

Kyle Howe Tucker, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was in class minutes before a police officer on duty at the campus was shot dead by the two bomb suspects on Thursday night.

News reports state that the officer was killed during a shoot-out at around 10.20pm — less than an hour after Mr Tucker had left the university and headed home to his apartment in the south of the city.

About three hours later, one of the suspects was gunned down in a second shoot-out in the Watertown district in the east of the city. Last night his accomplice was finally apprehended by police after a day in which large areas of Boston were locked down while authorities carried out a manhunt.

“It's been a totally weird night, a pretty hectic night,” Mr Tucker, 23, said yesterday.

I'm normally in class from 7.30pm until 9.30pm but last night we got out early, at around 9.15pm.

“I was kind of busted out and so just went to the subway station to go home.”

Mr Tucker said that, once he arrived home he received a flood of e-mails from friends who dorm at the campus. The university also e-mailed a series of security alerts.

One chilling e-mail, sent at 11pm, reads: “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.”

A further e-mail posted yesterday morning reads: “To the Members of the MIT Community: MIT suffered a tragedy last night: an MIT Police officer was shot and killed on our campus in the line of duty. While the circumstances around the officer's death remain the subject of an active investigation, what is certain is that the officer gave his life to defend the peace of our campus. His sacrifice will never be forgotten by the Institute. We are thinking now of his family, and our hearts are heavy.”

“The building that I was in is very, very close to Building 32 on the campus, in fact it's right next to it,” Mr Tucker said.

The student said he stayed up all night monitoring the news on television and made contact with friends still on the campus.

On Monday afternoon, Mr Tucker had been watching the climax of the Boston Marathon at Copely Square when two bombs were detonated near the finishing line. The student ran to safety as plumes of black smoke filled the air.

Asked how he felt about being so close to a second tragic and terrifying incident in three days, Mr Tucker replied: “To be honest, I had left the scene before anything had happened and didn't find out about it until I was removed from the situation.”

A second Bermudian student in Boston yesterday spoke of being under siege as the hunt for the second bomb suspect continued. The city was under lockdown and residents were urged to remain indoors and lock their doors.

Madison Brewer, who live in an apartment just a few blocks away from Copley Square where the bombs went off, said a surreal atmosphere pervaded her neighbourhood yesterday morning.

“It's really weird — the streets are deserted and the only thing you can hear is the sirens of emergency vehicles continually going past,” Ms Brewer, 20, a student at Suffolk University, said.

“I got a call this morning telling me that all the schools were closed and public transport had shut down and that the authorities were telling everyone to stay inside.”

She later e-mailed: “Something huge is going on now. City at a stand still and dozens among dozens of emergency vehicles are leaving city heading for Watertown. Not sure what's going on though.”

Ms Brewer said she had visited the Watertown area of the city — where Thursday night's second fatal shoot-out took place — earlier that day. And like Mr Tucker, she had been at a bar just a few yards from where the bombs had been planted at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon — but left just minutes before they were detonated .

“It's scary to think that I have been in the right place, although thankfully not at the wrong time,” Ms Brewer said.

* Are you a Bermudian in Boston? If so, please e-mail gfinighan@royalgazette.com

Officials wearing tactical gear stand near an armored vehicle as they search an apartment building for one of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, in Watertown, Mass. Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead. His accomplice was finally apprehended by police. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Published April 20, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated February 01, 2023 at 11:00 am)

Bermuda MIT student evades campus horror

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