Man commits suicide in front of police

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A man suspected of stealing bicycles in Steamboat Springs committed suicide Tuesday by swallowing a dose of potassium cyanide while police questioned him at his Kremmling home.

The Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday that William Edward Campbell, 55, died minutes after swallowing the poisonous chemical.

According to the News, Krem--mling police Chief Scott Spade said he and two Steamboat police detectives were at Campbell's home Tuesday when Campbell told them he needed a glass of water.

Campbell then put the potassium cyanide in the glass of water and drank it in front of the officers. He was rushed to the hospital after he told officers what he had ingested. Doctors were unable to revive him, the News reported.

On Thursday, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said that the two Steamboat detectives were in Kremmling questioning Campbell as a suspect in a string of bike thefts.

Orange Peel Bicycle Service employees reported Sept. 22 that a man later identified as Campbell took a bike frame from the shop and was trying to put it his car when employees confronted him.

Campbell fled the scene but not before employees got the license plate number of the car he was driving. Officers used the license plate number to identify Campbell.

Rae said the Steamboat detectives, whom he would not name, tried to arrest Campbell last week, but he wasn't home. During the failed arrest attempt, detectives noticed several other bikes in plain view from one of the windows at Campbell's residence.

The Kremmling Police De----partment later executed a separate arrest warrant for Campbell after the serial numbers found on some of the bikes in his home matched the missing bikes from Steamboat.

In addition to the attempted theft at Orange Peel, Ski Haus employees reported a Specialized Enduro Pro bicycle worth $4,100 was stolen Aug. 16. That bike, along with two other bicycles that belonged to Ski Haus but were not reported stolen, were recovered from Campbell's home, Rae said. The other bicycles were worth $2,900 and $2,000.

Rae said four other bikes re----covered from Campbell's home reportedly were stolen from Frisco, Silverthorne and Denver. Those bikes ranged in value from $1,900 to $4,300.

Tuesday's incident began when officers contacted Camp--bell at about noon to interview him about the theft case.

Rae said that during the interview, Campbell told the detectives that he waited for store clerks to be busy or turn their heads before simply walking the bikes out of the stores.

It was during that interview that Campbell drank the poisoned water and died.

Grand County Coroner Dave Schoenfeld said he received Campbell's autopsy results Thursday, but he was not able to determine Campbell's cause of death. Schoenfeld is waiting for a toxicology report that will show what substances, if any, were in Campbell's system at the time of his death.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death as it is standard protocol because it involved police officers.

Rae said the bike theft cases in Steamboat are closed because the property has been returned to owners. Beyond participating in the CBI investigation, the Steamboat Springs Police Department has no other role in the case.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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