A Colorado mother is dead and her husband, two daughters and a family friend have been seriously injured after someone burst into their home and attacked them with a machete.
Bonnie Skinner, 51, died in the attack at her family's Brighton home Aug. 11, and her husband Vincent and daughter Paige and Abigayle were hospitalized with “serious injuries,” police said. Family friend, Daniel Smeal, who had been living at the home at the time, was also injured.
Lonnie Lynn McNair, 48, is now facing one count of homicide and four counts of attempted homicide after allegedly perpetrating the attack that left blood all over the floor and walls, according to a statement from Brighton Police.
“This was the kind of scene that makes even veteran cops take a step back,” Brighton police spokesman John Bradley told local station KCNC-TV.
The motive in the slaying has not been released, but authorities have said McNair knew the family.
“Our understanding is that this was a person the family knew and was trying to help out in the past and recently there had been some misunderstandings between them and that may have been the motivation,” Bradley said.
Bradley told Oxygen.com that investigators weren’t sure of the “exact relationship” McNair had with the family but believed he may have lived at the Skinner's home in the past.
McNair, who had reportedly been visiting from out of town, allegedly forced his way into the home just before 10 p.m.
Smeal tried to hold the front door shut, but McNair was able to burst inside, according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
“Daniel tried to run away from Lonny once he entered the residence,” authorities stated in the affidavit.
Bonnie Skinner’s third daughter, identified in the affidavit as Anna, told police she saw Smeal run up the stairs of the home as McNair allegedly struck him in the back with the machete. Smeal ran into the master bedroom of the house and locked the door.
Anna also ran into a room and called 911. During the call, Anna told the dispatcher that McNair had been visiting from out of town and was hitting people. The dispatcher could hear a woman screaming and heard Anna shout “Dad.”
The violence only continued from there. Paige Skinner later told police that she had gone to the front door of the home and saw her 51-year-old mother Bonnie Skinner trying to use her cell phone to call for help.
“She was trying to call for help,” the affidavit said. “Lonnie then came out of nowhere and started hitting her with the machete over and over and over.”
A witness reported looking out her window and seeing Bonnie struck “six of seven times with a long instrument she could not identify,” the affidavit said.
Police found Bonnie gravely injured outside the home. Authorities said it looked like she had been “mutilated” and was lying face down in a “large pool of blood,” according to the affidavit. Both of her arms were in an “abnormal position.” She died a short time later.
Her husband Vincent, who was found with a large pool of blood near his feet, had a large “X” shaped injury to the back of his head believed to be caused by a machete that had exposed his skull, according to the affidavit.
Paige Skinner suffered a laceration to her hand had lost a finger, according to the affidavit.
As authorities arrived at the scene, McNair allegedly fled, leading police on a short vehicle and foot pursuit, police said in a statement. Officers used the K-9 unit to help apprehend McNair, who was later treated at an area hospital for a dog bite.
Before her death, Bonnie Skinner had been a fixture at the Rusty Melon restaurant in Erie where she had worked as a kitchen manager, according to local station KDVR.
“She took a lot of pride in the Rusty Melon here. It was her baby,” coworker Tori Schneider said at a memorial Friday night. “This is what she did, this was her life. And she was the ‘Mom’ of the restaurant.”
Justine Myers, who was Bonnie’s boss and friend, told KCNC-TV that those who knew the family had been left in shock. She described her friend as a giving soul who was always willing to take others in and offer them a helping hand.
“This incident wasn’t because they were involved in anything bad,” she said. “They were doing good, but unfortunately doing good hurt them.”
McNair is currently being held in the Adams County jail.
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