Suspect who prompted shelter in place in Harvard Square taken into custody

Bystanders react after man wanted for murder in Philadelphia caught in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Police in Cambridge have taken a man wanted out of Philadelphia for a recent homicide into custody after the search prompted a shelter in place near Harvard Square.

Harvard University issued a shelter in place for students and faculty at around noon on Tuesday following reports of a possibly armed person in the area.

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The shelter in place was lifted after about an hour, when police took the suspect into custody without incident.

Authorities said they were searching for 31-year-old Sohan Panjrolia, who they say is a homicide suspect wanted for crimes in Philadelphia.

According to Philadelphia Police, Panjrolia is accused of killing his father, 60-year-old Mahendra B. Panjrolia, with an assault rifle on Saturday, Aug. 3. Sohan is accused of firing multiple shots at his father, fatally striking him in the head.

Sohan then allegedly fled his house in a 1999 gray Toyota Camry, which was later found abandoned a couple of blocks from the house.

He was spotted inside a Ben & Jerry's Tuesday afternoon. Cambride Police say he was using a laptop or device and did not expect to see police after fleeing from Philadelphia.

Panjrolia is a former Harvard University student and an initial investigation led police to believe he could have been in the Harvard Square area.

Cell phone video shows police take him into the cruiser, right outside of Tasty Burger.

Marshals knew Panjrolia could have been in the Cambridge area and put out an alert and shared information with Cambridge Police.

An alert Harvard University police officer found Panjrolia's blue Toyota inside a parking garage in Harvard Square.

Within minutes, a Cambridge Police officer found Panjrolia sitting less than a block away.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville Bard called his capture "a huge sigh of relief."

"We touched on it earlier, a densely-populated area, well-known area, high-powered assault rifle that we suspected the suspect has, it could have turned out much differently than it did, so we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when we were able to take him into custody without incident," Bard said.

According to a text message and email sent to students and faculty, the school was asking people to avoid the area of JFK and Eliot streets.

Police told the public to expect to see heavy police presence and restricted access to the area.


Man wanted for recent homicide in Philadelphia taken into custody by Cambridge Police. A previously issued shelter in place HAS BEEN LIFTED. Police say incident is over.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The area for which the shelter in place was issued is close to the Harvard Square MBTA train stop and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Several unanswered questions remain, including whether the murder weapon was in the car police found, or what Panjrolia was doing back in Cambridge.

Police have applied for a search warrant, but that hasn't been approved yet.

Police say they are still interviewing Panjrolia to learn more.