Crews respond to report of possible ricin on Georgetown Universi - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Crews respond to report of possible ricin on Georgetown University campus

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Emergency crews were called to Georgetown University on Tuesday after they received a report of possible ricin at a residence hall on campus.

From the outside, you would have no idea Georgetown University was the scene of a hazmat scare. But venture deep inside the campus and it's a different story. D.C. Fire and EMS trucks were outside McCarthy Hall. The tall brick building is a high-rise dorm for students other than freshmen.

"I don't think they would send that many people out there if they didn't think it was a real threat,” says graduate student Jake Earl.

In a statement to FOX 5 News, university officials say they alerted D.C. Fire and EMS early Tuesday morning of a report of possible ricin on campus. But they say initial field tests for biological agents in the area were negative and the all-clear given. That same report was emailed to students.

"I think the fact that we got the information after the fact and after police were on the scene and had it kind of under control helped prevent some of that frenzy of not knowing what's going on," says Georgetown freshman Ryan Kuchinski.

The FBI says a substance recovered from the dorm building is being tested at an area lab and that investigators are questioning a person.

Ricin is described as a highly toxic protein obtained from the pressed seeds of the castor oil plant.

On social media, there is talk the person being questioned may have had a fixation for the television show, “Breaking Bad,” where a character who runs a meth lab makes ricin to kill a foe.

Authorities are not identifying the person being questioned.

The university says it is cooperating with D.C. Police and the FBI.

Students tell us classes went on as scheduled.


Statement from Georgetown University Regarding Hazardous Material On Campus:

Early this morning, Georgetown University alerted DC Fire and EMS of a report of possible ricin in one of the residence halls on campus.

Initial field tests for biological agents in the area were negative. DC Fire and EMS advised there is no immediate risk to the area. Students may remain in all campus buildings.

Law enforcement authorities have recovered a substance from the reported location, and will be conducting further testing of that material. A subject has also been identified and interviews are ongoing. The university is cooperating with local and federal authorities on this ongoing investigation.


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