WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ)–Three packages, all mailed to government leaders, all rigged with incendiary devices. The first two were discovered in Maryland on Thursday, the third in D.C. on Friday. WJZ is staying on this story with complete coverage.
Alex DeMetrick is following the new developments in D.C. He explains that the FBI is now trying to see if the packages are indeed linked.
It’s certainly more than a coincidence. Either it’s the same person involved in Maryland’s mail scares or a very quick turn-around by a copycat.
The Brentwood Postal Facility Annex in Washington, D.C. was evacuated and sealed off just before 3 p.m. on Friday when a package suddenly ignited.
“They evacuated us. There’s nothing more than I can tell you other than there were whispers of a bomb that went off across the street,” said one employee.
The package was not a bomb, but according to a post office spokesperson, it was similar in size and marking to a pair of packages that ignited in two Maryland buildings Thursday.
But this time, the package went off on its own.
“The package was not opened by the employee. However, the package has been described as popping, smoking and with a brief flash of fire and then it extinguished itself,” said Chief Cathy Lanier, Washington, D.C. Police Department.
“This suggests that there’s one individual involved, a lone wolf if you will. We don’t know where this person is or what this package suggests,” said Dr. Adrian Wilariat, UM Center Health and Homeland Security.
The package was addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
It came through Brentwood because that is where mail is directed to federal agencies, much like one of Thursday’s packages, sent to Maryland’s government mail center.
No one was injured in the D.C. incident. There was no structural damage, but because no one is sure if there are more threats in the mail, security remains high.
“We did some standup talks with our postal employees, especially here in the capital metro area. Postal inspectors are out at various facilities screening mail to ensure that the mail is safe,” said Pete Redina, U.S. postal inspector.
The discovery of Friday’s package came just about 24 hours after the two packages showed up in Maryland, and investigators think more could be out there.
Identical notes were found in the Maryland packages. Investigators have not said if a third note was found in the D.C. parcel.
Mike Hellgren breaks down the investigation in Anne Arundel County.
Whoever sent the packages that shut down mailrooms across Maryland , injured two employees and forced evacuations had a message.
The note read: “Report suspicious activity . . . total bull**** . . . you have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Signed, X.”
“This is not the way to go about to get a point across, to get your message heard. Right now it’s a matter of going throughout the state, looking at ‘Do we have any disgruntled people, anybody that had a vendetta against the state government?’” said Col. Terrence Sheridan, Maryland State Police.
The packages contained a tiny battery and an electric match.
“Think about it like this, if you were to light a match and you held on to it too long, you could potentially get singed fingers,” said William Barnard, State Fire Marshal.
Governor Martin O’ Malley had this to say on Friday:
“It’s important that we stay vigilant, and it’s easy to let your guard down. When nothing has happened in a long time, you start cutting corners and maybe not scanning as much of the mail as you should. I think you’ll see a lot more mail scanned in the days and months ahead. “
Who is “X”? Investigators have no leads yet.
“We don’t believe that yesterday’s event is going to end. We think that we’ve got to make sure we go after this person and get them off the street and get them behind bars,” Sheridan said.
The two injured state workers are doing fine. One of them went back to work.
Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of this ongoing investigation.