Chemical Suicide

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 2:55pm

Man mixes household chemicals to create poison gas, ending his life.

Police in Wichita, Kansas say the body of a man found Sunday afternoon is the result of a chemical suicide.

It’s a growing trend across the country.

A lawn care worker found the 32-year-old Wichita man’s body in a car that had been parked in the parking lot of The Alley, an entertainment and bowling venue in east Wichita, for nearly two weeks.

Police say the man used a series of chemicals to create a poisonous gas in order to take his own life.

”There's at least one bucket in there and a couple of other canisters with residue but we do not know what they are,” said Lt. Sam Hanley with the Wichita Police Department when officers first arrived on the scene Sunday.

Chemical suicides were first seen in Japan in 2007, where they’ve had more than 2,000 cases.

In the United States, there were reportedly three incidents in 2008, nine incidents in 2009 and more than 30 in 2010.

This was the first case for Wichita, and it can cause some hazards for emergency responders.

“This guy had actually put a sign out on his front dash that said, ‘Caution: Deadly Gas,’ so he didn't want to hurt anybody else obviously,” said Lt. Ken Landwehr with the Wichita Police Department.

”Obviously, if you show up and there's a vehicle with a sign that says ‘Danger: Poisonous Gas,’ you're going to take note of that and act accordingly,” said Capt. Stuart Bevis with the Wichita Fire Department.

Hazmat crews responded and cleared the area before officers investigated the scene.

Authorities warn if you see someone in a car that appears to be unresponsive, do not approach the vehicle or open its doors.

They say call 911 immediately.

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