A Tampa man has been arrested after surveillance video showed him putting something under the front door of a family that was having problems with a noxious chemical in their condo whose source had baffled them.
Xuming Li, 23, was arrested and faces multiple felony charges, according to WFLA-TV.
Umar Abdullah said soon after his child was born, Li — their downstairs neighbor — began making complaints.
“He complained about footsteps. He complained about door closing sounds,” Abdullah said, according to WTVT-TV. “My landlord and I did a simulation, and we could hardly find any sound.”
Then the family began feeling ill for no reason.
“I look at my daughter,” Abdullah told WFLA. “Her eyes were full of tears. She was not crying, but her eyes were full of tears.”
A friend who picked up a package for the family while they were on vacation noticed a chemical smell, which Abdullah said he also noticed when the family returned. A thorough inspection of the heat, air conditioning and water heater found nothing.
Xuming Li was charged for allegedly injecting chemicals under his neighbors’ door in a long-standing feud. pic.twitter.com/ddT659Azvh
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 25, 2023
“This chemical odor came back,” Abdullah said, according to WTVT. “I installed a hidden camera outside, because we were suspecting someone is basically tampering with our place from outside.”
“If we could not have found that incident on the camera, probably after a few days, we might have been dead,” Abdullah said.
Li’s attorney said Li pled not guilty and the facts will come out in time, according to WFLA.
Abdullah said he was in shock that someone they knew “was coming and harming us with chemicals. And that was very scary for us.”
Tampa police said a hazmat test found the “liquid chemical agent” put under the door to contain methodone and hydrocodone.
One officer exposed to the liquid suffered skin irritation, according to WFLA-TV.
Li is listed as a chemistry Ph. D student at the University of South Florida.
The school said he has not been active there since the summer and also said its labs do not have the chemicals found under the Abdullah family’s door.
Benjamin Chemel, a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at Eckerd College, said it is possible the two drugs were mixed with something also hazardous, such a chloroform.
“I think that that compound is a potentially better explanation as for what was responsible for the odor,” Chemel said. “As well as what may have been responsible for the effects experienced by the entire family.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.