Police said Wednesday that an anonymous threatening letter containing the deadly poison ricin was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, apparently in response to his outspoken stance on gun control. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is perhaps the nation's foremost gun control advocate, lobbying on Capitol Hill and spending millions of his personal fortune to oppose candidates with opposing views.
Now, his advocacy has apparently made him a target. A threatening letter mailed to the mayor last week tested positive for ricin and made reference to the debate on gun laws.
"Why they've done it, I don't know," Bloomberg said Wednesday. "The letter was, obviously referred to our anti-gun efforts, but there's 12,000 people that are going to get killed this year with guns, and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we're not going to walk away from those efforts. And I know I speak for all of the close to 1,000 mayors in Mayors Coalition Against Guns. This is a scourge on the country that we just have to make sure that we get under control and eliminate."
Bloomberg did not come into contact with the letter, which was received Friday at a city mail facility on Gold Street in Lower Manhattan, but police officers did experience minor symptoms of ricin exposure, which have sense subsided.
A second ricin-laced letter was received Sunday by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group co-founded by Mayor Bloomberg.
Experts say that ricin, which comes from castor beans, can be lethal even in very small doses.
"The idea of exposing someone to it, where it could actually get into the system, can be really very destructive," Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's 'The Situation Room'. "So something like that is clearly an attempt to cause significant and serious damage to the person who would get exposed to it."
Speaking outside an event Wednesday night, Bloomberg appeared unperturbed.
"I'm not angry," he said. "There are people who I would argue do things that may be irrational, do things that are wrong, but it's a very complex world out there, and we just have to deal with that."
There is no word yet on who's responsible for the letters, though sources told NY1 that the letter to Bloomberg was postmarked in Louisiana. The threats are being investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD Intelligence Division.