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Windows of Grad Dorm Damaged by BB Pellets

By Lauren E. LeBon

STAFF REPORTER

An unidentified assailant fired shots at the Sidney-Pacific graduate residence, inflicting $6,000 of damage to doors and windows.

Similar shootings have occurred in the surrounding neighborhood, damaging building fronts and parked vehicles.

The Cambridge police department is working along with MIT campus police to determine the identity of the shooter.

There have been two shootings at the Sidney-Pacific residence. The first was shortly before Christmas and the second a week later, according to Director of Housing Karen A. Nilsson.

The new graduate dormitory, located at 70 Pacific Street, just completed in August 2002, will require an estimated $6,000 of repairs, mostly to replace the large glass windows that were damaged.

Details of shootings unknown

Captain David A. Carlson of the MIT Police said that it appears that the gunperson fired the shots from a car. The weapon is undetermined, but appears to be a BB or pellet gun.

There have been no known witnesses to the shootings, according to Officer Frank Pasquarello with the Cambridge police department.

He added that the details are unclear and still under investigation.

MIT increases security

Since the first incident, MIT police have increased surveillance and squad car patrols around the area.

In addition, the police have been working with Sidney-Pacific’s own night security team to ensure the safety of the residents.

“Our hope is to put forth a very strong deterrent to whoever’s doing this,” Nilsson said.

Since the new precautions were taken, no futher incidents have occurred on the MIT campus.

“It’s so random. Being able to catch the person will be hard, but hopefully our deterrents will make them go elsewhere,” said Nilsson. “We’re all very concerned, and have had strong support.”

Sidney-Pacific residents feel safe

Despite the incidents, residents feel safe in and around Sidney-Pacific.

Residents were made aware of the incidents via e-mails sent out by the housemasters, and by the residence’s weekly announcements, according to Sidney-Pacific Secretary Christina E. Silcox G.

“They have reminded people that we are off campus and we should be careful walking at night,” Silcox said.

“I think people probably feel pretty comfortable walking around,” she added.

“Everyone’s been told to keep an eye out,” said Michael F. Welch, a resident of Sidney-Pacific. “Most folks feel safe.”