WASHINGTON - A man who caused an anthrax scare near the Capitol Tuesday afternoon will face no serious charges, according to U.S. Park Police.
"To be very clear, the man never threatened anyone," said Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose. "All he did was he wanted to make sure law enforcement was aware of what he felt was a threat to him and other people."
The man, who still has not been identified, drove his white pickup onto a grassy area in front of the Capitol near the Reflecting Pool. Police said he claimed he had been exposed to anthrax at a Virginia farm and told them he brought a sample of the substance with him in a bucket.
It happened just before 3 p.m. as police and hazmat crews swarmed the area around 3rd and 4th Streets.
Police later found there was only dirt and grass in the bucket. Tests showed the man had not been exposed to anthrax.
Sources say the man, who was compliant with police, may be mentally ill.
As a precaution, the man went through decontamination. He had to take off his clothes and be hosed off with water inside a tent set up on scene. Police said all first responders who had contact with him had to do the same.
"You take every measure to make sure everyone is safe," Sgt. Rose said.
The man was taken by ambulance to an area hospital for evaluation.
Rose said he is facing a citation for driving his vehicle onto the National Mall.
Roads remained closed in the area as a robot and emergency personnel were deployed to inspect the truck. The vehicle was found to have no dangerous materials and was towed.
The National Mall was fully reopened before 8 p.m.