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FBI Washington Field Office Investigates Suspicious Letters Received by District of Columbia Schools

FBI Washington May 06, 2011
  • Public Information Office (202) 278-3519

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The FBI continues to investigate who is responsible for mailing at least 29 letters Thursday, and additional letters this morning, to Washington, D.C. schools, causing some school evacuations and tying up hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources. Shortly after noon on Thursday, May 5, 2011, the FBI’s National Capital Response Squad began responding with the Washington, D.C. Fire Department, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to repeated calls from Washington, D.C. schools with concerns of suspicious letters containing a white powdery substance.

In the ensuing 10 hours, local and federal hazardous material experts responded to each school location, assessing the level of risk, ensuring the threatening letters and substances were packaged safely for further analysis, and determining no further risk existed at the schools. To date, no hazardous substances were found in the mailings. No illnesses or injuries have been reported as a result.

Pursuant to protocol, each item packaged will be analyzed for hazardous substances by an approved regional lab before it is transported to the FBI’s Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia. Experts there will perform a variety of tests in an effort to determine who sent the letters and whether the letters are linked to any other pending investigation. Initial indications are that the letters were mailed from the Dallas area and are similar in style and content to other suspicious letters under investigation by Dallas FBI and U.S. Postal Inspectors. In addition, they are similar to other letters received at some Washington, D.C. area schools in October of 2010.

The addresses on the letters were printed, not handwritten. Each letter was addressed to a school and not a specific person. Further details on the content of the letters are not being released at this time because the investigation is pending. The following is a list of the 28 Washington, D.C. schools which received the suspicious letters on May 5, 2011; one location received two letters. These locations are not necessarily in the order in which they were reported:

1. Terrell Elementary: 3301 Wheeler RD SE
2. Brown Elementary: 4800 Meade ST NE
3. Powell Elementary: 1350 Upshur ST NW
4. King Elementary: 3200 6th ST SE
5. Lafayette Elementary: 5701 Broad Branch RD NW
6. Johnson Jr. High: 1400 Bruce PL SE
7. Hamilton Elementary: 1400 Brentwood Rd NE
8. The School Without Walls: 2130 G ST NW
9. Ballou Senior High School: 3401 4th ST, SE
10. Burroughs Education Campus: 1820 Monroe ST, NE
11. Marie Reed Elementary: 2201 18TH ST, NW
12. Ross Elementary: 1730 R ST, NW
13. Phelps Junior High: 704 26TH ST, NE
14. Houston Elementary: 1100 50TH PL, NE
15. Duke Ellington School: 3500 R ST, NW
16. Hardy Middle School: 1819 35th ST, NW
17. Peabody Elementary: 425 C ST, NE
18. Anne Beers School: 3600 Alabama AVE, SE
19. Banneker Day Care: 800 Euclid ST, NW
20. Eaton Elementary: 3301 Lowell ST, NW
21. Bunker Hill Elementary: 1401 Michigan Ave., NE
22. Maude Aiton Elementary: 533 48th PL, NE
23. Plummer Elementary: 4601 Texas Ave., SE
24. Thurgood Marshall Elementary: 3100 Ft. Lincoln DR, NE
25. Eastern High School: 1700 East Capital ST, NE
26. Lasalle Elementary: 501 Riggs RD, NE
27. Amidon Elementary: 401 I ST, SW
28. 1000 Mt. Olive RD, NE