PARKVILLE, Md. (WMAR) - Neighbors became evacuees after the chemical scare Monday night along Ridgely Oak Road in Loch Raven Heights.
"It was like a pungent, tangy smell," said Matthew Smith.
"He had some sort of chemicals in his basement,” added Holly Flinn, “That's all that I heard."
Chemicals, initially suspected to produce bombs or crystal meth, turned out to be part of an alleged huffing scheme to make a quick buck.
"What they discovered was that our two suspects, an 18 year old man and a 19 year old man, were mixing engine starter fluid with water, pouring it into bottles in an attempt to distribute it, so it could be used an inhalant," said Baltimore County Police Cpl. Cathy Batton.
So is that huffing?
"Yes," Batton said.
What is 'huffing?'
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports the abuse of inhalants (commonly referred to as huffing) is widespread across the country. They also believe cases may be under-reported because signs of inhalant abuse are not often obvious. » MORE
It may have been an otherwise legal substance, but 19-year-old Justin Trionfo and an alleged accomplice now face drug distribution charges.
"I can't imagine anyone surviving if they huff that. If they survived that it would be amazing."
Those are the words of Justin’s mother, Allyson Trionfo, who says she’s relieved by her son’s arrest.
"You're always wondering if you're going to find your child dead or in jail, so I think it's where he really needs to be probably right now."
Trionfo says Justin has a history of drug abuse and mental illness, and it was one of his Facebook postings on Monday, suggesting he wanted to shoot up Loch Raven and Parkville High Schools, that concerned her the most.
"He actually idolizes the Columbine… you know the shooters that did that? He idolizes them. He knows their names. He thinks it's like fabulous,” said Trionfo, "He idolizes all the people that do that kind of stuff and I'm afraid that in the long run, he could basically do the same thing to a school, and it scares me and his friends---they all talk about it."
While longtime neighbors have long feared the troubled kid down the street, it appears they’re not alone.
"Are you afraid of your own son?" we asked Trionfo.
"Yes. At times, I am," she replied.
Police say they investigated the Facebook postings, and found no bases for an actual threat to any Baltimore County Schools.
Late Tuesday, they identified the second teen arrested as 18-year-old Kahrl Retti Jr. of Bideford Court.
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