House Side Of Capitol Evacuated After Suspicious Substance Found In Chamber

09/13/2010 01:05 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON — Police briefly evacuated part of the Capitol building Monday after a powdery substance was found in the visitors' gallery overlooking the House chamber.

Capital Police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider said the gallery and surrounding areas were cleared "out of an abundance of caution" while police investigated the substance. It was reopened less than an hour later. Schneider said the nature of the substance was unclear but it was determined not to be hazardous.

Reporters in the House press office overlooking the chamber were also asked to move to other areas of the building, which were not affected. Schneider said there were only a few House pages in the gallery when the substance was discovered.