Top 4 most bizarre Colorado-related deaths
According to the Denver coroner's office, Rajeev Sharma, 33, was the man who committed suicide Sunday at 1600 Glenarm Place, reportedly by using hydrogen cyanide that forced the evacuation of two floors in the building. It's not the first time this sort of life-ending method has been used locally. In August 2008, Abdirahman Dirie, a Canadian salesman, killed himself at the Burnsley Hotel using enough sodium cyanide that it could have been considered a weapon. But do these demises constitute the most bizarre Colorado-related deaths? Not quite...
Here's a list of even odder exits, originally compiled after the Burnsley incident:
SEPTEMBER, 1997: The Hitman Who Hit Himself
According to the Associated Press, Rita Quam was attacked in Edwards by a man wearing dark glasses, a black wig and a fake moustache. He was later identified as Arthur Smith, a retired Chicago police officer and longtime friend of Quam's ex-husband. But after firing several shots at her, and missing each time, Smith's gun jammed -- "so he tried beating her on the head with large rocks." Quam managed to survive this assault, and when a deputy arrived on the scene and ordered Smith to lie down, "he collapsed, wheezing in the thin mountain air, and his disguise fell off. Then he had a heart attack and died." Jason Bourne he wasn't.
DECEMBER 1997: Being a Fan Can Be Deadly
Okay, I know the Colorado connection here is tenuous -- but bear with me. According to wire reports assembled by the Philadelphia Daily News, Missouri resident James Shivers, 60, was watching a Holiday Bowl matchup between the Missouri Tigers and the Colorado State Rams when his son Tony, 26, "deliberately stood in front of the TV." James responded by firing a shot at him with a .22-caliber pistol. When he missed, Tony grabbed the weapon and started hammering his dad over the head with it. So James went to a closet and grabbed a shotgun. This time he hit his target. By the way, the Rams won the contest 35-23. Thank goodness the elder Shivers wasn't anywhere near Fort Collins that day.
DECEMBER 2005: A Chip Off the Old Block
According to the Denver Post, a man and his partner were removing dead branches from a forty-foot-tall tree near a Loveland home with the help of a shredding machine when the first worker was pulled into the contraption. Anyone who's seen Fargo knows what happened next.
JUNE 2007: You Know What the Word "Flammable" Means, Right?
The Rocky Mountain News reported that the deaths of teenagers Samuel Hedemark and Christopher Fuller in a Routt National Forest explosion weren't exactly coincidental. During a party attended by about twenty people, the pair climbed atop an oil tank and began dancing. Problem was, they were smoking while they did it. The subsequent blast killed them as well as a dog they'd brought onto the tank with them. Talk about cruelty to animals.
More from our News archive: "Car as murder weapon?: Aurora cops investigate strange death on North Ensenada Court."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.