TAMPA — As a salesman for a security company, Rashad Hales went door-to-door in a Town 'N Country neighborhood Friday evening selling the idea of safety.
Instead, authorities said, he became the danger.
Hales, 19, forced his way into a woman's home, beat her, raped her, choked her and threatened her with a knife, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
His only regret? That he didn't kill her, deputies said.
They don't know if this is an isolated incident.
"What concerns us is that this individual has been going door-to-door in multiple locations," said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon. "We know he felt very confident she was not going to tell on him and we suspect that confidence may have been built out of other attacks."
Hales, of Tampa, started working for SecureWatch just days ago, said Paul Victor, the company's operating officer. The Knoxville company sells and installs ADT security systems. Friday was one of Hales' first trips into the field.
Just before 6 p.m., Hales knocked on a door and a woman answered, according to deputies.
She told Hales her fiance, who makes the household decisions, wasn't home, McKinnon said.
He said Hales left and came back about 10 minutes later.
When the woman answered the door, McKinnon said, Hales told her he had spoken with her fiance about signing up.
The woman tried to shut the door but Hales grabbed her wrist and stopped her, McKinnon said.
Hales pushed his way inside and locked the door. He began beating and strangling the woman using his hands and an electrical cord, McKinnon said, while telling the woman he should kill her.
Hales forced the woman to a bedroom where he raped her, McKinnon said. He then brought her to the kitchen, armed himself with a knife, held it to the woman's throat and threatened to kill her if she told anyone, McKinnon said. He said Hales took her cell phone and ran away.
Soon afterward, the woman's fiance came home and found her, McKinnon said.
"We received a call at about 6:30, after the woman's fiance discovered she had been brutally attacked and raped," McKinnon said.
Patrol deputies, K-9 deputies and helicopters set up a perimeter and tracked down Hales. He ran toward the Shell gas station at 11203 Sheldon Road where his supervisors told him to meet his fellow employees at the end of his shift, McKinnon said.
When Hales told his supervisors that authorities were after him, they held him until deputies arrived a few moments later.
Hales is charged with sexual battery, attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed burglary with battery and tampering with a witness. He is being held without bond in the Hillsborough County jail.
During an interview with detectives, Hales admitted to the offenses, McKinnon said. Hales said he thought that if he spared the woman's life, she wouldn't tell anyone, McKinnon said.
"He told detectives that his only regret in the entire incident was that he didn't kill her," McKinnon said.
Hales started working for SecureWatch 11 days ago, Victor said. The company did a background check on Hales, Victor said, and it came up clear.
"We are extremely shocked by this incident," Victor said. "We have terminated the individual."
This is the first time the company has had something like this happen, he said.
The woman, whom deputies have not identified because of the nature of the crime, was treated at a local hospital and released.
Hales' family said they find the allegations against their son hard to believe.
"My son is not that type of person," said his mother, Regina Hales. "He is not a violent person."
Hales attends Seminole Heights Charter High School and is working toward his GED, she said. He was excited to have a job over the winter break, she said.
Hales has been arrested twice before on juvenile misdemeanor charges.
He was 14 when he was charged with battery and 15 when he was charged with trespassing, state records show.
He was set to appear in court this morning.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2442.