© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Deadly Gas Release To Be Noted In Police Academy Curriculum


Sugar Creek, MO – It was once commonplace as a means of public execution. Now, the rare use of cyanide gas in a Sugar Creek suicide prompts a closer look by law enforcers.

A man killed himself with two canisters of the gas inside a closed truck earlier this week. Police Chief Herb Soule says he's been told it is only the fourth case of its kind on record in the U.S. He is board chair of the regional police academy and plans to include in the curriculum how to deal with this kind of hazard--"correct protocol of course is going to be to back off and wait till the hazmat teams get there. But we need to teach them what the signs are, what to recognize and how to handle themselves when they're there so they're not in danger."

Some emergency crews had a frightening brush with the gas when they found the dead man. At least three were taken to hospitals for observation. All recovered.

Chief Soule says the regional office of the F.B.I. has offered specialized training to his police and firefighters in event they have to deal with a similiar situation in the future.

The Sugar Creek chief understands hydrogen sulfide and a form of cyanide gas have been common means of suicide in Japan. There, he says, it has become known as "detergent" suicide because the gases are easily manufactured from common household products.

According to Soule, there should be a wider concern because such chemical compounds might be used as a broader weapon against people.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.