A young man put himself in a deadly situation Monday night when he ingested an unknown amount of ricin at a condominium on Padre Island, and now he could be facing serious charges.
The young man was only 18 years old and remains in the hospital, but the incident could have exposed numerous people to the deadly poison, making it a tricky situation for the Corpus Christi Fire Department.
Firefighters were called to the Palm Bay Cillage condos on Padre Island just after 9 p.m. Monday. They said once they got to the scene, it took some time before they realized it was ricin that the young man consumed. He had produced it himself using castor beans he had purchased, and then intentionally ingested the substance.
The 18-year-old was rushed to the hospital, but firefighters had to check out family members who may have come in contact with the chemical as well.
Officials said ricin is extremely toxic and dangerous, and they were afraid many more could have been exposed while transporting the man to the hospital but were able to eventually secure both the scene and the hospital, putting worried minds at ease tonight.
"Unfortunately the young man is still, I understand, in the hospital," CCFD Captain James Brown said, "but as far as any potential exposure to anyone else, that seems to be, that has been eliminated."
Authorities do believe the teen was attempting to take his own life. They still do not know how much of the poison he produced or how much he ingested.
Even though purchasin castor beans, which are used to make ricin, is legal, producing ricin falls under the federal crime of possession of manufacturing of a biological weapon. Once the young man is out of the hospital, he could be facing federal charges.
Stay connected with 3News for the latest news, sports, and weather. Download the KIII-TV 3News app now.