NORTHERN ARIZONA – Authorities confirmed Wednesday that no explosives or hazardous materials were found in the vehicle of the suspected Mesquite bank robber who killed himself Tuesday.
The Arizona Highway Patrol Hazmat Team and members of the St. George Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit were called in to investigate the contents inside of the suspect’s vehicle. It was initially reported that at least two suspicious packages were found and removed from the vehicle.
Officer Carrick Cook, a media spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, confirmed investigators had examined the contents of the packages and did not find any explosive devices or hazardous materials which had been suspected to be ricin.
“[Ricin] is 15,000 times more poisonous than cyanide,” Cook said, “That’s why we were so careful.”
Interstate 15 was closed from around 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday due to the potential threat posed by hazardous materials left in the car of Troy Eugene Williams, the man suspected of robbing the Nevada Bank and Trust in Mesquite. His car was recognized by an Arizona DPS officer as matching the description of the car leaving the scene of the robbery. He followed Williams and pulled him over near mile marker 20 in the Virgin River Gorge
Before the officer could make contact with the suspect, Williams put a gun to his head and shot himself. He was pronounced dead by Beaver Dam Fire and Rescue at the scene. (See previous story here)
Cook said the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office would be handling the investigation surrounding Williams’ suicide from that point forward.
Due to the closure I-15 Tuesday, traffic was rerouted through Old Highway 91.
Ivins resident Diane Gifford said she noticed the heavier traffic, but wasn’t inconvenienced by it.
“It was one of those things beyond our circumstances to control,” Gifford said. “I’m just grateful news about the [alternate route] was in the paper.”
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