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David E. Packard '63

Long Beach
man dies from cyanide

A Long Beach State University lab assistant who took cyanide when police arrived, after he was noticed acting suspiciously at the back door of a bank, died of the poison.  

Police said David E. Packard, 31, of 1642 E Sixth St. died at 6:52 p.m. Wednesday in Community Hospital , where he had been in a coma since he was brought in shortly after 3 p.m. last Friday.  

Investigators said Packard, wearing a knit watch cap pulled low over his head and rubber surgical gloves, clutching a knap-sack. was seen by a passerby at the back door of the Bank of America, 2240 Bellflower Blvd. The passerby called police. W h e n Officer Mike Linck arrived to check out the report, he said Packard pulled a small bottle out of the knapsack and gulped the contents. Packard collapsed and went into convulsions. Paramedics called to the scene began giving him aid for cyanide poisoning after smelling the bottle, and doctors later confirmed the diagnosis.

Man at Bank’s door had gun, and cyanide

By DICK ROWLAND Staff Writer

He had been standing for about 15 minutes Friday in the Bank of America parking lot at 2240 Bellflower Blvd. He looked to be about 25, sixfoot, about 185 pounds. Maybe it meant nothing, a passerby thought, but why would someone hang around the back door of a bank at three in the afternoon, wearing a knit watch-cap pulled low over his head and clutching a knapsack? And what about those rubber surgical gloves pulled up over his hands and arms? Officer .Mike Linck, too, thought it looked suspicious, as he drove up in a patrol car to check out the passerby's report. A second patrol car cruised nearby. "He was really eyeballing that black-and-white," Linck recalled.. "I told him to keep his hands away from his body and stand still."

Linck cautiously approached the suspect and tensed when the man dropped the knapsack and shoved one hand into a trouser pocket. Linck expected a weapon. Instead, the man pulled out a small bottle, put it to his mouth, and gulped what was inside. The bottle crashed to the ground as the man slumped onto the pavement. Linck put his hand inside the knapsack and found a .22-caliber pistol. The man was now gasping and writhing in convulsions.

Paramedics said that whatever was in the bottle smelled like almonds. They began treating him for cyanide poisoning. Doctors at Long Beach Community Hospital later confirmed the diagnosis.  

The unidentified young man remained in critical condition late Friday. The man carried no identification, which officers said "is almost a trademark" of bank robbers. Under treatment at the hospital, the man is being held for investigation of attempted bank robbery.

From the Independent Press-Telegram, Saturday, November 13, 1976, Long Beach, CA