A New Zealand man who flew across the world and tried to break into the Virginia home of a 14-year-old girl he first encountered online was shot in the neck by the girl’s mother, cops say.
Troy George Skinner, 25, took three planes and a bus before hitch-hiking the final miles to the girl’s doorstep in Goochland County, Virginia on Friday, according to Goochland Sheriff Jim Agnew, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Skinner was armed with a knife, pepper-spray and duct-tape, the newspaper said.
Agnew declined to speculate at Monday’s press conference about what he believed Skinner would have done had he succeeded in getting inside the girl’s home, according to the Associated Press.
“All I can say,” Skinner said, “is the manner in which he attempted to enter that home in the face of a firearm pointed at him and the implements we recovered from him — the only inference is that he had very bad intent.” Agnew said.
The girl met Skinner on Discord, a free voice and chat service that has been described as Skype for gamers. The two communicated for three to four months, before the girl stopped. Skinner persisted, Sheriff Agnew said, but the girl “did not cooperate with him.”
Then he showed up at her front door Friday afternoon. The woman, the girl and the girl’s younger sister were inside painting. They did not answer the door — the mother told police she doesn’t answer the door during the day, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
That’s when Skinner picked up a brick and attempted to break into the house through a back door.
“He got a brick and attempted to break that door down,” the sheriff said. “This 6-foot-1-inch, 275-pound man attempted to violently get inside her house.”
The woman armed herself with the family’s firearm — a .22 caliber handgun. After loading it, she warned Skinner that she was armed. But Skinner threw the brick through the glass door, and reached inside to unlock it, according to a news release by the Goochland County Sheriff’s Department.
The woman fired twice, striking Skinner once in the neck. He fled but collapsed in a nearby yard, where police found him and administered emergency first aid before transporting him to a hospital, where he remains. He is expected to survive.
A friend of Skinner’s from New Zealand spoke anonymously to WTVR 6, the local CBS affiliate in Richmond. He said Skinner was an anti-social loner into gaming. “He’s got no history of drugs, no criminal record. “[He] may be a little aggressive but nothing really crazy,” his friend said.
“Then you hear about duct tape, knife and are like what the hell is this? He’d been on some medication had psychiatrists visiting his flat to discuss certain things apparently there were some antipsychotics so this sounds like a mental break.”
Skinner will be charged with breaking and entering with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit a serious crime, Sheriff Agnew said, adding that the FBI is also “pursuing federal charges related to contacting” the girl.
“When I sit back and think about it,” Agnew concluded, “‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
[Photo: Goochland County Sheriff's Department]