RENO, Nev. (AP) — A man set off a panic and evacuation of the county commission chambers in Reno on Monday when he spilled an unknown green liquid on the public speaking lectern while making a statement about pollution in the city’s drinking water supply.
Deputies tackled Ross Tisevich, 28, of Fallon, and arrested him when he displayed the substance in a plastic weed killer bottle that he later said was a harmless Jell-O-like liquid he mixed as “a joke.”
Another man who spoke at the meeting, Joseph Benedickt, 24, Reno, also was arrested. Both were being held on $50,000 bail on charges including dispersing a hoax hazardous material and disrupting a public meeting.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini and several other city council and county commission members were quarantined for about two hours before hazmat crews determined there was no danger. The substance turned out to be “predominantly water” with a small amount of dissolved sugar that crews likened to Jell-O, the city said.
Sparks city spokesman Adam Mayberry, who was at the meeting in Reno, said people initially feared Tisevich “might have a weapon.”
“It was one of those really unnerving moments,” Mayberry said. “It turns out it was nothing, nothing more than a spray bottle.”
The joint session of the three governmental bodies resumed shortly after noon.
Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Tisevich had made comments in social media over the weekend that concerned some council members. The newspaper reported Tisevich had specifically complained in the past about pesticide spraying along the Truckee River, the main source of drinking water in Reno.
Tisevich could be seen and heard on video recorded by the Reno Gazette-Journal saying the substance was only water and, “It was a joke, it was a joke.”