Harvard University will be closed Friday due to public safety concerns prompted by an at-large gunman suspected of playing a role in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
The University has also canceled shuttle services and all athletic events and practices, indefinitely. The status of Visitas, scheduled for this weekend, is unclear. A University spokesperson declined to comment early Friday on the status of prefrosh weekend.
Harvard’s closure comes as much of west Boston and the near suburbs lock down in the wake of Thursday night’s standoff. In a press conference early Friday morning, Mass. Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said that people who live in Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge, and the Boston neighborhood of Allston-Brighton should stay home. He also said that businesses in those areas should remain closed.
The gunman was last seen in East Watertown, where he was involved in a firefight with municipal, state, and federal law enforcement officials.
“We are asking you to stay indoors, to stay in your homes for the time being,” Schwartz said. “We are asking business in those areas to cooperate and not open today until we can provide further guidance.’’
In addition, Mass. Governor Deval L. Patrick '78 ordered the closure of all public transportation early Friday, including MBTA trains and buses and all commuter rail lines. Amtrak service has also been temporarily suspended between Boston and Providence, R.I.
The at-large gunman is believed to be connected to the bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday and the killing of an MIT police officer late Thursday night.
“This is a very serious situation that we are dealing with,” Mass. State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben said at the press conference.
MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson College, Suffolk University, and Boston Public Schools are among a number of schools closed Friday.
—Staff writer Jared T. Lucky contributed to the reporting of this story.
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