by Olivia Carey, Stephanie Purifoy, Max Reyes, and Chris Van Buskirk
Students were told to lock and barricade their doors after both Emerson College and the Boston Police Department received reports of gunshots on the Boston Common around 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday. In an email to the college, President M. Lee Pelton said no students were involved in the shooting.
An alert sent out by the Emerson Emergency Service at 6:59 p.m. on Tuesday told students to shelter in place after the shots were reported. Students were given permission to exit campus spaces at 7:37 p.m.
Police Commissioner William B. Evans, who spoke at a press conference held on the Common following the incident, said BPD officers were informed of shots fired on the Common around 6:47 PM. One gun was recovered near the Parkman Bandstand.
Evans said three people who fled the Common—two on mopeds and one on foot who fled into the transit tunnel—were taken into custody. One person who suffered gunshot wounds is in Tufts Medical Center in critical condition.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the people taken into custody had been questioned and released. There were no updates on the victim’s condition and no charges were filed. Evans said those involved in the shooting knew each other.
“It wasn’t a random act,” he said.
Junior visual and media arts major Eva Zheng said she saw the person of interest who fled on foot enter the transit tunnel.
“When the train came I was about to board,” she said. “[The person of interest] just ran in front of me and went into the tunnel and the police just chased down after him.”
Brian Simonelli, a junior visual media arts major and a resident assistant at the 12 Hemenway Street residence hall, went to the ECPD office to secure a ride home because he couldn’t access the T.
Simonelli was in class when the shooting occurred.
‘’There’s going to be incidents just due to the fact that we’re in downtown Boston,” he said. “There’s only so much that can be done.”
“Obviously, the safety of our students is our first priority,” Pelton said in an interview with the Beacon following the incident. “It appears our alert system worked very well.”
Chris Van Buskirk, Olivia Carey, Stephanie Purifoy, and Max Reyes contributed reporting to this article.