Police investigate suspicious package near Thurston Hall

Metropolitan police and FBI agents blocked off a large swath of campus Wednesday after a suspicious package was found near 19 and F streets. Photo by Marie McGrory/Hatchet Photographer

Updated at 12:54 p.m.

Metropolitan police and FBI agents have closed off a large swath of the southeast side of campus to investigate a suspicious package near 19th Street between E and F streets, stopping incoming freshmen students attending the fourth Colonial Inauguration from moving into Thurston Hall.

MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump confirmed that the suspicious package is not hazardous, but that officers are still on the scene.

“At 7:45 a.m., a suspicious package was discovered by patrol officers at 19th and F Streets NW,” Crump said. “They are still in the process of examining it.”

Crump declined to comment on whether the investigation, which has blocked off streets for more than five hours, is within the typical response time for suspicious packages.

The package was not inside the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund buildings, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Pete Piringer confirmed. He said the package was located outside and the perimeter has been expanded as of 10:40 a.m.

F Street is closed from 18th Street to 20th Street and 19th Street is closed from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, according to an Alert D.C. announcement. Part of G Street is currently closed to traffic but open to pedestrians and police officers on scene were allowing employees to enter the H Street World Bank building.

Although the street closures extend close to the White House, Secret Service spokesperson Malcom Wiley said that officers are assisting MPD officers, who have jurisdiction over the scene.

“19th and F [streets are] not immediately in our jurisdiction, so like any other city street in Washington, it would be under the control of the MPD,” Wiley said. “It’s not a Service issue aside from our uniformed officers who may be helping to secure the scene.”

New students and their families, who began arriving this morning to move into Thurston for their C.I., are being told to check-in at the Marvin Center as planned, University Spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

“Colonial Inauguration activities are taking place as planned. Students and parents are encouraged to check-in at the Marvin Center as usual. They can check their bags at the Marvin Center. CI staff is offering extra tours of campus and additional food and refreshments. The opening session will still begin at 10 [a.m.]”

According to a GW Campus Advisory posted at 8:39 a.m., “nearby facilities, including residence halls, are sheltering-in-place until situation is resolved.” An Infomail from GW warning people to avoid the area was sent at 10:40 a.m.

Parts of campus were shut down due to similar reports last July and in September.

– Lauren French contributed to this report

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