Virginia Shooting Prompts State House Security Increase Ahead Of Sail Boston Preps

BOSTON (CBS) – Expect to see more law enforcement than usual in Boston the next few days.

Security at the Massachusetts State House has been increased as a result of the shooting of a congressman and four others in Virginia Wednesday.

statehouse Virginia Shooting Prompts State House Security Increase Ahead Of Sail Boston Preps

State Police increased their presence outside the State House Wednesday. (Photo credit: Nicole Jacobs – WBZ-TV)

“This measure is being taken only as a general precaution. There is no known threat to Massachusetts,” State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, our Commonwealth Fusion Center continues to monitor intelligence and developments from the Virginia shooting and will share relevant information with our law enforcement partners and the public as appropriate.”

The increased security at the State House had a chilling effect on lawmakers. “Any elected official makes you think about people out in the public who may want to decide to do something way over the line as a way of expressing displeasure with one party or another or one philosophy or another,” said Republican Representative Brad Jones, the house minority leader.

It’s not clear yet if that was the motive, but Governor Charlie Baker says it shouldn’t change how they do business. “I am one of those people who believes you can’t be an effective public official if you don’t spend time with the public,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The increased security comes just days before Boston welcomes the tall ships back to the city.

“We want to make it clear there are no threats to this event whatsoever,” said Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans at a news conference held to outline security plans for the event designated the highest security risk in the country.

Read: 2017 Sail Boston Guide

More than 50 of the sailing vessels from 14 countries will sail into Boston Harbor Saturday at 9 a.m. as part of a trans-Atlantic regatta.

tallships21 Virginia Shooting Prompts State House Security Increase Ahead Of Sail Boston Preps

(Image Credit: Sail Boston)

Security is expected to be extraordinarily tight all next week as millions of people are expected to flock to the waterfront to see the ships.

The FBI said that viewing areas for Sail Boston have been “hardened” with security, along with other points identified as “soft” targets.

Organizers have been making security preparations for months for the complicated event that’s on land and sea with the arrival of foreign ships and dignitaries. “We remain concerned about the continued interest of international terrorists and homegrown violent extremists have in exploiting mass gatherings and soft targets,” said Hank Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston division.

Lessons have been learned from terror attacks around the globe, but the concern at such a large event is what they don’t know, said Shaw.

The federal government has designated Sail Boston with a higher security risk than the Boston Marathon.

“I don’t think people should be intimidated by that. We knew months ago that that was the rating, so it’s going to be a great day, very much like (the) marathon,” Boston Police Commissioner Evans told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

“Working together, like we do for marathons, like we do for the Red Sox, Patriots championships, so, we’ve become very good at partnering with other agencies. We anticipate a great couple days here in the city of Boston, so I encourage everyone to come out.”

Even though the tall ships have come to Boston frequently over the years, this will be the first Grand Parade of Sail here since 2000.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.

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