Chemical Attack Injures Eight In Chillicothe
by Lisa Roberson, (30 Jun 2006) Newark Advocate Ohio
CHILLICOTHE -- Police say a chemical attack by a man Thursday once again illustrates the dangerous nature of the chemicals used to make illegal drugs.
David W. Howard Jr., 29, of South Salem, has been charged with two counts of felonious assault as a result of the 3 a.m. attack at an apartment complex. Police Capt. Tom Hewitt said Howard is the person who threw an unknown chemical on a man and a woman and caused them to be sent to a Columbus hospital with chemical burns.
"The attack was drug-related," Hewitt said, adding the scene was "mass chaos" when officers and firefighters arrived. The attack apparently started after an argument on how to make methamphetamine, and police say Howard threw the chemical.
The process can sometimes have explosive consequences as dangerous chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia are used to make the drug. Still, cookers are known to "cook" in their homes and cars, among other places. The wrong combination of chemicals can cause a dangerous reaction.
Hewitt said items used to make drugs were found nearby in the car of a suspect involved. The car is thought to be a mobile lab used for cooking the drug.
In all, eight people were injured in the attack, including a child hospitalized with breathing problems after inhaling the chemical, but some refused treatment, Hewitt said. Six people had been treated at local hospitals.
Two firefighters also were treated as the result of inhaling fumes at the scene.
The names of the victims were not released. Police think they know what chemical was sprayed, but they are waiting to release the information after tests confirm the substance.
A second man -- Robert S. Silcott, 29, of 2843 Ohio 207, Lot 26 -- was held in connection with a failure to appear warrant on a petty theft charge, but he has not been charged with anything in connection with the attack.