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Suspicious Letters At DC Schools; 29 Letters In All

10:31 PM, May 5, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Suspicious Letters At DC Schools: 6pm Update

  • Suspicious Letter reported at Powell Elementary School
    

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Suspicious letters, containing white powder, were reported at  DC schools Thursday, officials said.

During a news conference Thursday evening, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the U.S. Postal Service and local DC authorities will screen the mail to make sure all the mail coming into the schools is safe.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Report of another suspicious letter at a DC school

"There is a series of things that are gonna go on at the postal inspector's level and at our level, the local level, to ensure the mail is safe going to all the schools," stated Lanier.

DC Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer says, according to all the agencies involved in the investigation, there were 29 suspicious letters. A youth rehabilitation center also received a letter.

Officials say it's believed to be part of a pattern they are seeing across the country. None of the letters have been determined to be hazardous.

Everything has been to a laboratory for analysis, FBI officials said in a news conference 5 p.m. Thursday.

The FBI confirmed the letters received in DC have Dallas postmarks. The local FBI is part of the investigation but will not confirm any connection between the DC letters and the last letters received at Dallas-Fort Worth area schools and churches. A suspect has not been arrested in connection with those Dallas-Fort Worth area letters.

The first DC letter was reported around noon in the main office of Terrell Elementary School at 3301 Wheeler Road in Southeast. Hazmat officials determined that package was not an immediate threat.

The second incident, at the Rob Brown Middle School at 48th and Meade Streets in Northeast, was also reported in the office, officials said.

The other schools include: King Elementary School at 3200 6th Street, Southeast; Powell Elementary School at 13th and Upshur Streets, Northwest; Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest; Hamilton Academy at 1401 Brentwood Road, Northeast. There were also report of packages at School Without Walls Senior High School at 2130 G Street, Northwest, and Ballou High School at 3401 4th Street, Southeast.

Three of the schools were cleared by officials and deemed safe.

Some of the school were "partially evacuated" according to DC Fire officials.

No injuries were reported in any of these schools. 

Initial reports identified the powder at potato starch or corn starch, officials said.

The FBI and Postal Service are investigating all the incidents.

Here's a list of the schools reported to have received letters with white powder in the mail:

  • William Powell Elementary School in Northwest
  • Terrell Elementary School in Southeast
  • Ronald Brown Middle School in Northeast
  • Martin Luther King Elementary School in Southeast
  • Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest
  • Hamilton Molten Academy in Northeast
  • School Without Walls Senior High School in Northwest
  • Ballou Senior High School in Southeast
  • Anacostia High School in Southeast
  • Burroughs Elementary School in Northeast
  • Spingarn High School in Northeast
  • Marie Reed School in Northwest
  • Peabody Elementary School in Northeast

These addresses have reports of letters addressed to them, containing white powder, the FBI confirms:

1700 East Capitol, 801 Euclid Street, 3600 Alabama Ave SE, 1819 35th St NW, 425 C St NE, 3301 Lowell St NW,  3301 Wheeler Rd SE, 4800 Meade NE, 1350 Upshure St NW, 3200 6th St SE, 5701 Broadbranch Road, 1401 Brentwood, 14th and Bruce Place SE, 2201 18th St NW, 704 26th St, 1730 R St NW.

CNN reported 17 Houston, TX schools had a similar series of letters sent out to its schools back in October.

Here's the story from back then:

HOUSTON (CNN) -- OCTOBER 11, 2010 -- Letters containing an unidentified white powder arrived with the morning mail at three more Houston, Texas, schools Monday, bringing to 17 the number of campuses that have received such suspicious packages in the past week, a school spokesman said.

Fourteen letters received Friday all tested negative for toxic substances, but principals at all 298 Houston public schools were put on alert to "to very carefully check their mail," Houston Independent School District spokesman Norm Uhl said.

There was no interruption for students when the latest letters were found at Austin High School, Askew Elementary and Lewis Elementary on Monday morning, Uhl said.

DCPS officials said Thursday night that DC Public Schools will be open on time Friday.

 

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