Closing of Senate Office Buildings

February 3, 2004
Press Release
United States Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer
Public Information Office  
119 D Street, NE  
Washington, D.C. 20510 Immediate
(202) 224-1677  

The United States Capitol Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are continuing a joint investigation into the Ricin incident that began Monday, February 2, 2004 when a powdery substance was discovered in a room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Meanwhile, the Hart, Dirksen, and Russell Senate Office Buildings will remain closed tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4, 2004. House office buildings will remain open and the U.S. Capitol will be open. Tours in the U.S. Capitol are suspended until further notice. House and Senate Galleries will be open for pass holders.

USCP personnel began the process today of collecting mail from the buildings. Meanwhile, the USCP continues to coordinate the investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. USCP appreciates the assistance of the many federal, state, and local agencies that are assisting USCP in its efforts surrounding the incident.

The incident began Monday when the powdery substance was discovered shortly after 3 p.m. All Senate staff members and USCP personnel who were in the vicinity of the substance were decontaminated as a precaution. Symptoms generally occur within four to eight hours of exposure. Symptoms can include difficulty in breathing, fever, cough, nausea and tightness in the chest. The symptoms also can include abdominal pain and vomiting.

No one has reported experiencing any symptoms, however The Office of the Attending Physician is continuously monitoring those who may have been exposed.

The principal focus of the USCP, USCP Police Board, and Congress is the safety of the staff and community.

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  Prepared by:
  Sgt. Contricia Sellers-Ford
  United States Capitol Police
  Public Information Officer