U.S. terrorism probe centres on Ottawa man dead from cyanide
UPDATE AUG 14 08 It was approximately 1 Lbs. of sodium Cyanide in his room. Enough to “kill hundreds of people”
Brendan Kennedy , Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The mysterious death of an Ottawa man in a Denver hotel is now the subject of a terrorism investigation.
Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29, was found dead in a room at the Burnsley Hotel in downtown Denver on Monday morning, less than two weeks before the Democratic National Convention takes place in the Colorado city. The hotel is about four blocks from the State Capitol building.
A coroner’s investigation found indications of cyanide poisoning, Denver police detective John White told the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday.
According to news reports from Denver, a large container of a white powdery substance was found in Dirie’s room on the fourth floor of the Burnsley Hotel.
Tests are now being done by the Denver Police Crime Lab to determine what the substance is. The tests could take days.
The FBI and other governmental agencies, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force, are assisting in the probe. The FBI has told the Denver Post there was no reason yet to suspect terrorism.
The man did not have a passport, but Denver police identified him as a Canadian from Ottawa. Dirie is not known to have family in Ottawa and the RCMP could not be reached for comment.
In spite of the coroner’s findings, Det. White said police have found no indications of foul play. He could not say who reported Dirie’s body to police, nor whether he was travelling with anyone else.
A manager at The Burnsley Hotel refused to answer any questions about Dirie and referred all calls to the general manager, who was unavailable.
According to police, four people who had initially touched the man were decontaminated as a precaution. Five occupied rooms on the fourth floor were evacuated and the guests were moved to another floor.
No other hotel guests or employees became ill, and the contamination has not been found elsewhere in the hotel, Denver police said.
Jason Ford, general manager of the 17-story Burnsley hotel, told reporters Tuesday he had no comment on Dirie, including how long he had stayed at the hotel.
“We always protect the privacy of all our guests,” he said.
With files from Mohammed Adam