A Utah man has been charged after he allegedly assaulted his grandparents while high on fumes from canned air.
Jacob Tolman Klein, 23, of St. George has been charged in 5th District Court with attempted murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated assault, a second-degree felony; assaulting a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor; and making threats a violence, criminal mischief and psychotoxic abuse, all Class B misdemeanors.
St. George police say they received a report on Sunday at about 8 p.m. that Klein was suffering from a “psychiatric problem” and was attacking and threatening to kill his grandparents.
The grandmother told police that when she asked Klein — who had been renting a room in the home for about two weeks — to stop his loud cursing, he began attacking both her and her husband. Klein kicked his grandfather to the ground and continued to kick him in the face and abdomen.
He then chased his grandmother outside and attacked her, injuring her arms and breaking her nose. Both grandparents said their grandson told them repeatedly he would kill them — that he had a gun and he would use it.
The grandfather was taken to the hospital, suffering apparent internal bleeding, according to medical personnel. Police wrote in a probable cause statement that the grandfather is not expected to recover from his injuries; he remained hospitalized on Tuesday.
When police searched Klein’s room, they found two empty cans and unused cans of canned air, used for cleaning surfaces and electronic equipment. The cleaner contains difluoroethane, which — according to American Addiction Centers — can cause “an immediate rush of euphoria as well as possible hallucinations and delusions,” along with “loss of inhibitions” and “inability to make sound decisions.”
When Klein was interviewed by police, he told them he intended to kill his grandfather, according to a probable cause statement, adding that he only stopped his attack because he believed his grandfather was dead. Klein said he saw his grandfather attack his grandmother with a shard of glass, but police wrote that they found no evidence of that.
According to police, after the grandmother was interviewed, she “began to uncontrollably sob. I could only make out that she feared Jacob returning to their home.”
Klein’s father told police his son has a “history of abusing inhalants,” and that he believed Klein had used them on Sunday. “He stated that Jacob has become too volatile, and that he didn’t think it would be safe for Jacob to come back home until he’s had more treatment,” police wrote in a probable cause statement.
Klein was booked into the Washington County jail, where he is being held without bail.