Jays' Brooks was locked down at Harvard

* Stephen Brooks (Prince George, BC) the Blue Jays senior vice-president of business operations was attending an eight-week, advanced management program at the Harvard Business School during the Boston Marathon bombings, which led to a shooting in Cambridge and Watertown (above). .... 2013 Top Canadians eligible for draft 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2013 Canadians in College  Letters of Intent 2012-13 Canadians at Canadian schools 

By Bob Elliott

Stephen Brooks went to sleep after a busy day of class last Thursday.

The Blue Jays senior vice-president of business operations was not asleep for long.

Not on this night.

Not in Boston where he’s enrolled in the eight-week, advanced management program at the Harvard Business School.

Students on the Harvard campus and area awoke to police sirens as squad cars raced past the executive residence dorm along Solider’s Field Drive.

After 10 p.m. a robbery took place at a 7-11 convenience store near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, a seven-minutes walk from Harvard, on the other side of the Charles River.

“Sirens were blaring, enough of them to wake people up,” said Brooks Wednesday afternoon. “We knew something was going on and not far from us.”

Brooks, a University of British Columbia grad, and his fellow grad students understood what had transpired on Friday morn, saying: “We came down, they made an announcement -- we were locked down for the day.”

Sean Collier, a brave MIT police officer, was found shot in his car in Cambridge.

A shoot out took place between police and the suspected perpetrators. Another police officer was injured.

In the early morn hours gunshots and explosions were heard in Watertown. One suspect in Boston Marathon bombings was killed.

MIT, Harvard and schools cancelled classes, public transport in Boston was brought to a standstill and residents were told to keep their doors closed unless a police officer identified himself.

The major manhunt was underway.

“We stayed in our building, we were not in any harm,” said Brooks as he and his fellow students from 45 different countries attended classes in the building.

“Our reaction to what was unfolding was similar to the general public’s,” Brooks said. “We digested the tragedy, tried to put it into perspective.

“We experienced shock, disbelief over the awful deaths and the randomness of the event. It was not something you would expect.”

brooksBrooks exchanged texts with his wife Connie in Toronto.

“We were watching on TV when they said ‘we think we have the guy cornered,’” said Brooks.

Brooks went away on a course and wound up in a city in shock.

“I wouldn’t characterize what we experienced as fear,” he said. “Everything was well handled by the school.”

Students watched local Boston TV coverage and CNN, when not in the midst of their normal study routine.

“CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody,” Boston Police tweeted at 8:30 Friday night.

As police left Waterdown families came out on to the front step to cheer.

Boston Strong.

A week ago Monday at 2:49 p.m. two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three on Patriot’s Day: restaurant worked Krystle Campbell, 29; graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23 and eight-year-old Martin Richard.

And 282 spectators and runners were injured as the pressure cooker bombs exploded pellets, shrapnel and nails.

The normal study day in the advanced management program was 8 am until 10 p.m. During a break in classes they found out what had happened on Boylston Street an hour after the bombing as they left class.

A Prince George, B.C. native Brooks worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP at Two World Financial Center, located near the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan from 2000-to-2004.

Living in Hoboken, N.J., Brooks was on a call to see a client in New Jersey on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorists steered hi-jacked planes into the World Trade Center towers.

From his car Brooks could see the fire ball from the plane hitting the second tower.

The Two World Financial Center building was closed from Sept. 11, until May 2002 as a result of damages.

Prince George Strong.

The man who has signs the Jays cheques since 2009 was asked if he’d seen any class mates in his program who could maybe field a ground ball?

Hit a line drive or not swing at a pitch out of the strike zone?

“Not yet,” Brooks said, “I’m been trying to follow us along on my phone. I guess we could use some help.”