Police in San Diego say a gay man who claimed he was burned in an anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime received the injuries while assaulting a pregnant woman so severely it left her bleeding from multiple injuries and requiring hospitalization. And police claim to have the video to prove it.
Earlier this week, Scott Rowin, 39, told local ABC affiliate KGTV he was walking home just after 8 p.m. June 12 when he heard antigay slurs directed at him. After yelling a few words in return, Rowin said, he continued walking only to feel a liquid thrown on him.
“Immediately after that, I went up like coals on a barbecue,” Rowin told KGTV.
Rowin said he stopped, dropped, and rolled to extinguish the fire. He described the incident as a hate crime, noting the alleged attack took place during Pride month.
“Nobody walks around with flammable liquid like without an agenda. In my opinion, they were obliviously out there targeting the LGBT community,” Rowin claimed in the story, which was posted Monday.
The San Diego Police Department released a statement two days later, countering Rowin’s claims and instead alleging he attacked a woman who set him on fire in self-defense. And police say they have multiple witnesses and video to prove it.
Police said that at 10:41 p.m. on June 12 they received multiple calls about a man attacking a pregnant woman. The suspected attacker had left the scene when officers arrived, but found the pregnant woman bleeding and suffering from multiple injuries. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment. After speaking with the woman and other witnesses, they began an investigation.
Little more than an hour later, police said they received a report of a man who said he had been set on fire an hour earlier. The man was interviewed by police and then transported by the San Diego Fire-Rescue to a local hospital. Police said they were quickly able to establish that Rowin was the suspect in the earlier attack on the pregnant woman.
During their investigation, police located video of the alleged assault.
“The video shows the initial physical assault by the man on the pregnant woman and the subsequent use of fire as a weapon by the pregnant woman on the man,” police said in the statement.
Police did not indicate whether Rowin has been officially charged in the attack on the pregnant woman.
In an updated version of the story, KGTV reached out to Rowin for comment but has yet to receive a response.