The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth evacuated its campus Friday morning after confirming that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the at-large suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, is a registered student there.
Robert Lamontagne, a university spokesman, declined to comment beyond confirming that Tsarnaev was registered there. He would not immediately say when Tsarnaev enrolled, what subject he was studying or whether he lived on campus.
His father told The Associated Press that his 19-year-old son was studying medicine. The rural UMass-Dartmouth campus, about an hour's drive south of Boston on the state's South Coast, has a medical school and pre-med program.
The school said in a statement that it was evacuating "out of an abundance of caution."
"There's, FBI, SWAT, cops everywhere," Brie McCarron, a UMass Dartmouth student, told the AP on Friday morning in a phone interview. "They're outside every building."
She said she was eating breakfast Friday around 8 a.m. on campus and all the TVs were on. Everyone was watching and people started to recognize him, saying he lived in a campus dormitory.
"I've seen the picture. His face looks very familiar. UMass Dartmouth is large, but you see the same people all the time," she said. "Everyone is freaking out."
"It's sad, it's disgusting. I can't even fathom why," she said. "Then to find out he's at our school. It's like, what the hell?"
Keith Raum, another student, said he received a text message from the school shortly after 10 a.m. The message told students to evacuate "as quickly and as calmly as possible," but with no other instructions.
Raum said he did not know Tsarnaev, but other friends on campus told him that the suspect lived in a different dormitory and "seemed like a normal kid. Nobody thought he would be involved in all this."
Associated Press writer Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.