Georgetown University says suspicious substance had ricin - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Georgetown University says suspicious substance had ricin

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Campus police at Georgetown University have a person they are questioning after the poison ricin was found in a dormitory room Tuesday.

There is no word on any arrest or possible charges.

McCarthy Hall has been cleared and the substance was tested. University Police Chief Jay Gruber says it tested positive for ricin.

However, D.C. fire investigators and the FBI took swabs of areas around that dorm room throughout the day, and those swabs came back negative for any biological threats.

Gruber says the university contracted out experts for decontamination.

The dorm has been cleared to open and there is believed to be no further threat to the Georgetown community.

The school consulted with the D.C. Health Department which said severe symptoms would present themselves within 24 hours of exposure to ricin. That window has passed.

Statement from Georgetown University Chief of Police Jay Gruber:

Early Tuesday morning, the Georgetown University Police Department was made aware that a student reported having ricin in that student's room in McCarthy Hall. Local and federal authorities were notified and began investigations. The reported substance was recovered from the room and tested positive for ricin. Additionally, swabs were collected by DC Fire and EMS and the FBI in the student’s room throughout the day on Tuesday, and all analysis of those sample swabs was negative for any biological threat agents. We are now able to reoccupy all areas of McCarthy Hall.

There is no immediate threat to members of the Georgetown community.

In an abundance of caution, the university secured contractors who specialize in decontamination of biological threat agents to clean the room under investigation where the contained substance was recovered.

In addition, the university consulted with the DC Department of Public Health, which informed us that anyone exposed to ricin would have presented with severe symptoms within 24 hours. This window has passed and there are no reports consistent with ricin exposure.

I would also like to thank all members of our community, especially the residents of McCarthy Hall, for their patience and cooperation.

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