E St. buildings shut down due to suspicious device

A suspicious object across the street from 1959 E Street prompted several city blocks to be shut down and the residence hall and adjacent academic building to be locked down Wednesday evening.

Just before 6:30 p.m., Metropolitan Police officers and bomb squad specialists began arriving on E Street between 19th and 21st streets, where they halted all vehicular and pedestrian traffic. An employee of the Red Cross National Headquarters called 911 with the bomb scare after seeing an unknown electrical device outside the building, MPD Officer Joe Dolan said.

The object turned out to be a pressure cleaner, used to wash off a white stone monument earlier in the day, said Dolan, who is a member of MPD’s Bomb Squad. His team worked with canine officers to investigate the scene and determine that no bomb was present.

“Everything was just fine,” said Dolan, driving away in his SUV with canine officer Elvis in the back.

Given that the bomb scare occurred at the southern border of the GW campus, the University Police Department was not directly involved in cordoning off the perimeter. However, UPD officers activated a “shelter in place” policy, which required students, faculty and staff in the 1957 and 1959 E Street buildings to remain inside.

Students waiting to get into the buildings shivered in the cold, which the Weather Channel reported as being in the upper-30s.

Senior Josh Adlakha, who works with Academic Technologies in the academic building, waited outside on the corner of 19th and E streets with about a dozen others.

“I was having trouble getting in and out of the building,” Adlakha said. “They will make a big deal about anything now.”

-Andrew Ramonas contributed to this report

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