PD: New Haven man arrested in connection with chemical attack - WFSB 3 Connecticut

PD: New Haven man arrested in connection with chemical attack

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Derek Lee Rawls is accused of a chemical attack on a New Haven woman. (New Haven Police Department) Derek Lee Rawls is accused of a chemical attack on a New Haven woman. (New Haven Police Department)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Police have arrested a New Haven man in connection with a “corrosive chemical attack” of a woman, who refused to marry him.

Derek Lee Rawls, 50, turned himself into the New Haven Police Department early Tuesday morning. Rawls, who has a long criminal history, is accused of throwing caustic liquid at woman in New Haven this weekend.

A woman, whose name is not being released to protect her identity, called police after she said was injured by Rawls, who is her upstairs’ neighbor, at a home on Spring Street around 7:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Upon arrival, the woman had “visible injuries to her face, neck, chest and arms” and her skin was “discolored and peeling.” Police said the woman was rushed to Yale–New Haven Hospital where she was treated and later released.

The woman told police that she had dated Rawls in the past. However, the two were no longer dating and she had an active restraining order against him.

She said she was attacked after she refused his marriage proposal.

New Haven Police Officer David B. Hartman said “the situation was exacerbated when she found out the water service to her apartment was deliberately shut off.”

“Detectives believe the suspect did this himself to prevent the victim from washing off the liquid. The type of caustic liquid is unknown but according to the suspect, it was drain-cleaner,” Hartman said in a statement on Tuesday.

Police released Rawls mug shot on Monday in efforts of locating him. 

Around 1 a.m., Rawls was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, first-degree criminal attempt to commit assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree breach of peace and violating a protective order.

Rawls is being held on a $500,000 bond. He is expected to be arraigned at New Haven Superior Court on Wednesday morning.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the New Haven Police Department at 203-946-6304.

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