RNC headquarters briefly evacuated, locked down after blood vials found

A package containing two vials of blood was delivered Wednesday morning to the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. RNC Chair Michael Whatley said in a statement that the lockdown of the RNC had been cleared and thanked police for a quick response. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

May 22 (UPI) -- After a package containing two vials of blood was delivered, the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday was evacuated and locked down for roughly two hours.

There were two leaking ice packs in the package and the vials were sealed, according to two people with knowledge of the situation who spoke to Politico.

U.S. Capitol Police spokesperson Brianna Burch said the suspicious package was cleared Wednesday morning just before 10 a.m. The incident is under further investigation.

The police said on X: "This morning, we responded to the 300 block of First Street, SE, for the report of a suspicious package. The package was cleared by our Hazardous Incident Response Division. It contained two vials of blood. The source of the package & its contents will be further investigated."

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement, "Today, vials of blood were sent to RNC Headquarters in DC. We are thankful to law enforcement, who responded quickly and ensured everyone's safety."

The RNC confirmed the lockdown was cleared and staff had resumed normal duties.

Whatley added that staff was not intimidated by the blood vials package.

The incident briefly caused law enforcement to cordon off the immediate vicinity and close roads around the RNC office.

It was not immediately clear who sent the vials or why they were sent, but Special Agent in Charge Matt Stoheler said in a statement that the package was addressed to a "Secret Service protectee."

The White House has repeatedly condemned political violence, and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday told reporters during a press conference that it has "no place in any community and certainly in our political discourse."

"It is important that we continue to repeat that that has no place in our politics, no place anywhere," she said. "And, so, we certainly condemn any form of threats."

Police first responded at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday with a heavy presence and hazmat teams.

There were no reported injuries.