The Minneapolis Police Department has revealed more details about the report of possible ricin that led to a scare in Dinkytown Tuesday afternoon.
According to police, a call came at 4 p.m. about a medical situation caused by a possibly hazardous material in an apartment on the 500 block of 14th Avenue SE. (KSTP identifies the building in question as the Marshall apartment.)
Police and fire arrived on scene and evacuated the building "in an abundance of caution," police said. One resident was taken to the hospital before first responders arrived. That person then offered authorities information about the substance, including what and where it was.
A HazMat team went in, sealed the apartment, and collected the substance for testing. The Minneapolis Fire Department described it as an unconfirmed report of ricin, but Minneapolis police did not offer any possibilities.
The investigation and clean-up went into the night, but at around 9 p.m., residents of the building were allowed back in. Authorities determined no other room was impacted by the unknown substance.
That room in question, however, was secured, and guarded overnight by the Minneapolis Police Department.
What the substance actually is will be determined by the Minnesota Health Laboratory. Ricin can quickly become lethal to humans when inhaled or injected, and extremely dangerous (though slower acting) when ingested. It is a poison that occurs naturally in castor beans, and the CDC calls accidental exposure to the substance "highly unlikely, except through the ingestion of castor beans."
The affected apartment building is just north of Al's Breakfast, near the Dinkytown Target. There are multiple housing units on the east side of the street, including Riverton Community Housing, Marshall Student Housing Co-Op, and U of Minnesota Apartments.
CrimeWatchMPLS says according to scanner traffic, the substance was located in a room on the fifth floor of an apartment building.