Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jun 2006
Source: Chillicothe Gazette (OH)
Copyright: 2006 Chillicothe Gazette
Author: Lisa Roberson
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Chillicothe police say a chemical attack by a South Salem man 
Thursday illustrates the dangerous nature of the elements used to 
make illegal drugs.

David W. Howard Jr., 29, of 8674 Lower Twin Road, is charged with two 
counts of felonious assault as a result of the 3 a.m. attack at the 
Sherman Park apartment complex. Capt. Tom Hewitt said Howard is the 
person who threw an unknown chemical on a man and woman causing 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 incident 
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 believed 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 were also treated as the result of inhaling fumes at 
the scene.

The names of the victims were not released. Police believe they know 
what chemical was sprayed, but are waiting to release the information 
until 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 has not been charged with anything in connection with the attack.

The scene Hewitt said that when the call came in about 3 a.m., 
officers responded as if it was a disturbance call. However, upon 
arrival, the officers encountered a situation Hewitt described as 
"mass chaos". People were coughing and showed signs of an obvious 
chemical burn.

Officers backed away from the scene.

"I heard a girl scream real loud," said Arthur Adams, who lives in 
the apartments, told NBC 4 News. "After I heard that scream, I saw a 
bunch of people running around with flashlights and things."

Another witness, Summer Secrest, told police she saw skin falling off 
one of the suspects as he ran from the scene.

It was soon learned a substance that police believe was being used to 
make methamphetamine was thrown during an argument. The street drug, 
also known as "hillbilly crack," is made by combining and cooking 
commonly found substances together like pseudoephedrine, anhydrous 
ammonia, battery acid and lighter fluid.

The result is a rock-like drug that can be smoked to produce a high.

The Chillicothe Fire Department and the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task 
Force were called to help dispose of the chemicals and other material 
found at the scene and in the car.

Hewitt said the men were part of a group of family and friends 
visiting the Chillicothe Metropolitan Housing Authority complex. They 
were not residents.

The complex is located in the northeast corner of Chillicothe, just 
off of King Street.
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