Suspicious Substance Leads to Partial Cannon Lockdown (Updated)

Doyle, left, chats with other lawmakers outside his office. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Doyle, left, chats with other lawmakers outside his office. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 22, 2015 at 3:14pm

Updated 4:01 p.m. | Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., returned from an afternoon series of votes to find a surprising scene outside his office on the second floor of the Cannon House Office Building.  

A Capitol Police officer was blocking the corridor, telling about a dozen onlookers that the department’s hazardous materials team was suiting up to investigate a suspicious substance. Doyle, who had hustled back for a scheduled meeting, checked his email and found a message from his staff: A staff assistant, in her second week on the job, had opened an envelope that contained a white powder substance.  

“They knew exactly what to do and the professionals are in there checking it out,” Doyle told a CBS camera crew. “I think [we’re] going to be fine.”  

Doyle seemed relaxed, though concerned for the well-being of his staffer. He said she alerted a more senior staffer, and was certainly having an “interesting week.” It was the same for the visitors.  

“I’m sure they won’t forget their visit,” Doyle said of the four constituents under lockdown in his office, along with the congressman’s staff.  

“I live in Pittsburgh. We’re not afraid of anything,” Doyle joked.  

Capitol Police confirmed the investigation shortly after 2:30 p.m. A hazmat team in white suits assembled to investigate and test the substance.  

At 3:40 p.m., after about an hour and 40 minutes of investigating, Capitol Police announced the incident was nothing more than a scare.  

“All clear with nothing hazardous found. The area has been reopened,” department spokesman Shennell Antrobus said in an email.  

The hazmat team quickly cleared out and staffers returned to their office.  

Doyle told CQ Roll Call he still planned to meet with the four constituents caught up in the hubbub.  

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