A threatening letter containing a mysterious powder sent the Iowa Capitol into lockdown and delayed action in the House for several hours on Tuesday.
Ultimately, a hazardous materials team found the substance not to be dangerous and released a crowd of perhaps 300 lawmakers, staffers and observers who had been sequestered in the House chamber and elsewhere at the Statehouse.
The letter was received by Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, late Tuesday afternoon and was opened on the House floor in the midst of debate.
Abdul-Samad told reporters Tuesday evening that the letter contained “very threatening” language but declined to describe it in detail, citing an investigation now under way by state police.
“I cannot talk about what was in the letter at this point, because it’s turned over now to the State Patrol and also to DCI, but it was a threatening letter,” he said, referring to the state Division of Criminal Investigation. “This has now become a very serious legal matter.”