FBI: ‘No biological threat’ detected in letters sent to state attorney’s office in Jacksonville

Employees were held inside as investigators tested substance

Letters that were sent to the State Attorney’s Office, Fourth Judicial Circuit in Downtown Jacksonville on Tuesday were sent to a laboratory to be analyzed, according to the FBI.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Letters that were sent to the State Attorney’s Office, Fourth Judicial Circuit in Downtown Jacksonville on Tuesday were sent to a laboratory to be analyzed, according to the FBI.

A spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office described it as a “flaky substance” that was identified.

JFRD said it called in its hazmat team and investigators said no one was permitted to leave the building until they determined what the substance was. The State Attorney’s Office spokesperson confirmed around 6:45 p.m. that employees were allowed to leave, but details as to what the substance was were unclear.

The fire department said its team collected samples to test, but initial results were inconclusive and a sample was expedited to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s lab.

In the meantime, JFRD spokesperson Eric Prosswimmer said, first responders took every precaution to keep people inside the building safe.

“We also shut down the HVAC system in the entire building, so it’s not spread throughout the entire building,” Prosswimmer explained.

A statement from the FBI reads:

“Preliminary laboratory results have concluded that no biological threat was detected. The scene has been cleared. This is an ongoing federal investigation and no additional details can be provided at this time.”

“People were so happy to go home,” said Sarah Srohmetz, who works in the building. “They said a little announcement that said, ‘You can go home now and have a good night.’”

JFRD had streets around the building blocked for several hours. Streets affected by the closures included Duval, Pearl and Julia.


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.