FBI investigating suspicious packages at Crockett and Bush elementary schools

May 10, 2012 5:02:59 AM PDT
Envelopes with a mysterious white powder inside were sent to two local elementary schools yesterday. The FBI is now looking for a possible connection between the two incidents.

Field tests on the substance came back negative for any hazardous substance, but the FBI will do some additional testing.

Emergency crews and the FBI were called out to Crockett Elementary School in the First Ward yesterday morning, and then to Bush Elementary School in far west Houston in the afternoon. In both cases, an envelope with a suspicious substance inside was sent to the school.

At Crockett, a administrative assistant opened an envelope in an office area of the school and saw a powder-like substance inside. As a precaution, the office area was isolated and the air conditioning turned off. Students were kept in their classes during the investigation, but were not evacuated.

The scene was cleared about an hour later and there was said to be no danger to students.

Then yesterday afternoon, a suspicious substance was found in an envelope at Bush Elementary School in west Houston at around 1pm. HISD police and HFD are investigating.

According to the FBI, they will perform further tests to determine if it's the same substance that was found in other envelopes around Texas this week.

Students took letters home to their parents yesterday informing them that a white powder was sent in envelopes to their schools.

HISD sent out an email alert to its principals yesterday afternoon.

"Fortunately, the principal here at Bush read that email and as she was checking her mail, came across a letter that seemed to meet the description of what the others had looked like, so she immediately put it down; she did not open it. She cut off the air conditioning in the school, according to procedure," said HISD Spokesperson Jason Spencer.

School at Bush Elementary let out at the regular time Wednesday, although parents arrived to find a HazMat truck parked in front.

There were no injuries, but obviously a lot of parents were concerned.

This is the third such incident in the last year and a half. Last May, a white substance was found in a letter at John Paul II Catholic School in west Houston, but it turned out to be harmless silicone. In October 2010, more than a dozen HISD campuses found envelopes with a white powder inside.

Other Texas schools affected today, yesterday

Seven schools and a church in the Dallas area received white powder filled envelopes yesterday and today. This morning, the administrator of a Dallas preschool opened a powder-filled letter. The administrator put the letter in a plastic bag and called 911.

The administrator was taken to the hospital for observation. Ten staff members and a class full of children ages three to five years old were evacuated from the school as a precaution.

"They weren't exposed to anything, but it's only because we don't have another classroom to put them in here at this facility; we have to go ahead and send them home today," said Gayle Nave, Executive Director of Mi Escuelita Preschool.

On Tuesday, five schools and a church in five different Dallas area cities received threatening letters with what turned out to be non life-threatening powder. It's not known if the North Texas and Houston cases are related.

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