New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg received threatening letters that tested positive on Wednesday for ricin poison. The letters were sent this past weekend.
New York deputy police commissioner Paul Browne added that the letters contained a threat to Bloomberg and also mentioned the debate on guns. Bloomberg stated of the incident:
“The letter obviously, referred to our anti-gun efforts but there’s 12,000 people [who] are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we’re not going to walk away from those efforts.”
One of the ricin-tainted letters sent to Bloomberg was opened at the city government’s mail facility. Browne explained that the suspicious material was found in two letters and was a “pink-orange oily substance.” It was the second of two tests that showed trace amounts of ricin.
Some emergency workers who touched the letter on Friday were later examined for possible ricin poisoning after they reported minor intestinal issues. The symptoms have since passed. Civilian workers showed no symptoms of poisoning. Bloomberg added of the situation:
“We take a lot of security measures as you know. The men and women that open the mail for example … they are all well trained.”
This weekend’s ricin case is the fourth one reported so far this year. Ricin tainted letters have also been sent to President Obama, several Mississippi politicians, and politicians in Washington state. This time, the two threatening letters sent to Mayor Bloomberg were postmarked in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The second letter to Bloomberg was opened by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, founded and co-chaired by Bloomberg. Jim Margolin, a spokesman for the FBI, explained that the agency is working to find out who sent the letters and where they were sent from.
Ricin is a highly toxic poison. Less than a pinpoint can kill someone in 36 to 48 hours if they inhale, inject, or ingest it. There is no known antidote to the toxin, which is derived from castor beans.