Rockville man may go to prison after allegedly dousing man with gasoline at the pump
Updated: July 17, 2014 - 02:23 am
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – A 61-year-old Rockville man could go to prison after he reportedly doused a stranger in gasoline at a local gas station.
The alleged victim, Miguel Mendez, of Montgomery Village, was driving home from a church event with his wife and 7-year-old daughter. The young family pulled into the Gulf gas station along Rockville Pike, just north of Rockville Town Center, when Mendez noticed a blue Audi sedan blocking two gas pumps. Mendez says he politely asked the Audi's owner, Armin Moadab, to drive forward. But instead of moving his car, Moadab allegedly began cursing up a storm and then sprayed Mendez from head to toe with unleaded fuel.
“He just went off, I mean uncontrollably,” said Mendez, who is still in shock and suffered chemical burns from the attack. “He came towards me and pointed [the nozzle] straight into my face, and started shooting gasoline non-stop—full-blast—all over my body.”
A fuel-soaked Mendez grabbed his cell phone from the car and called 911. With his daughter crying, and his wife yelling, Mendez feared the attack could intensify before police arrived.
“The guy could have matches in his pocket, or he could have a lighter,” Mendez said. “And he could have just, as he was spraying gasoline—you’re already drenched in gas—it doesn’t take much.”
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, Moadab told responding officers, “If I had a gun, I would have shot him [Mendez].” When police asked Moadab to repeat himself, the 5-foot-9-inch tall, 156-pound Rockville resident reiterated, "If I had a gun, I would shoot him [Mendez]."
On Wednesday, ABC 7 News visited Moadab’s Rockville home along the 14900 block of Rocking Spring Drive, but no one answered the front door. There was also no answer at the Gaithersburg medical office where he works as a certified master hypnotist and hypno-anaesthesia therapist.
On his private practice's website, Moadab claims to have nearly a decade of hypnotic therapy experience. He also maintains his therapeutic services may help patients “relieve pain, stop smoking, end depression, pass exams, sleep well, lose weight and be happy."
"He [Moadab] must have anger issues. I mean, who has the malice to think about spraying someone with gasoline?" Mendez suggested. "It was really just a terrible event that I wouldn't wish upon anyone."
During police questioning, Moadab reportedly told detectives he sprayed Mendez because he feared for his life. Officers didn’t buy the hypnotist’s story, and charged him with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. If found guilty on all three felony counts, a judge could sentence the 61-year-old to 40 years in state prison.
“It should serve as a reminder that we should all be aware of your surroundings,” Mendez said. “You just never know who’s next to you or what are they going through … they can just come and harm people.”
Mendez added, “Over a gas pump, I just don’t understand.”