'Suspicious' threat at Paramount is alternative medicine, police say
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
Guests returned to the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites shortly around 5 p.m. Wednesday less than two hours after being evacuated by Gainesville police, who were investigating a report of a suspicious substance in a hotel room.
Investigators eventually determined that the threat actually was a half-full Big Gulp cup of colloidal silver, a liquid suspension of microscopic silver particles that is sold as an alternative medicine.
The hotel guest occupying the room returned to the Paramount at 2900 SW 13th St. while the investigation was under way and confirmed the contents of the cup to investigators, according to GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias.
Around 3 p.m., a housekeeper found what police called a suspicious device or substance in a room and GPD was notified, Tobias said. The hotel was evacuated a short time later as the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad and the Hazardous Materials team joined the investigation.
Tobias said that at first authorities thought the substance might be part of a meth lab, but he said the substance does not have the typical characteristics of such an operation.
Tobias noted that while the threat ultimately proved to be unfounded, law enforcement acted out of an abundance of caution.
“GPD would much rather take all safety precautions anytime a suspicious device is found to ensure safety than not do enough,’’ he said.
Robert Knight, the manager of the Paramount, said that he had gone room by room with police to make sure all the guests had left the buildings.
Knight said the hotel is being renovated so it was not at full occupancy. Between 20-30 guests were evacuated.
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