NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 23, 2013

Triton alumnus reflects on UMass Dartmouth evacuation

By Dan Guttenplan
Sports Editor

---- — Amesbury’s Adam Jones is still trying to wrap his head around the fact that one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers lived one dormitory away from him on the UMass Dartmouth campus.

Jones, a sophomore track athlete at UMass Dartmouth, returned to the campus Sunday night after spending the weekend in his hometown of Amesbury. The UMass Dartmouth campus was evacuated Friday morning during the manhunt for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was a student the school and had a dorm room in Pine Dale Hall.

The FBI searched Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at 7341 Pine Dale Hall Sunday after securing a search warrant. According to the criminal complaint released by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office, they found “among other things, a large pyrotechnic, a black jacket and a white hat of the same general appearance of those worn by Bomber Two at the Boston Marathon … and BBs.”

Holder announced yesterday that Tsarnaev, 19, a U.S. citizen, resident of Cambridge and registered UMass Dartmouth student, was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property at the Boston Marathon on April 15, resulting in the death of three people and injuries to more than 200 people.

Jones, who graduated from Triton Regional High in 2011, said many of the students who returned to the UMass Dartmouth campus after the evacuation was lifted Sunday were shocked and confused.

“Everything’s a little off,” Jones said. “There are news reporters everywhere. There’s a little more police presence on campus. We’re all just really shaken up by the whole thing. We can’t believe it was someone from our school.”

Of Tsarnaev, Jones said he’s “never seen him before in (his life.)” Jones was familiar with some of Tsarnaev’s teammates on an intramural soccer team.

“I know a couple of people who knew him, and they all say the same thing everyone has been saying,” Jones said. “He was just a normal kid. He talked about girls all the time, nothing weird. He didn’t have any hatred toward anyone.”

Jones, a high-jumper who was named Little East Conference Indoor Field Athlete of the Year last month, is the same age as Tsarnaev, and they both enrolled at UMass Dartmouth at the same time.

Classes resumed yesterday and school officials say the campus is “absolutely secure and safe.” Hundreds of students attended a campus vigil last night.