Last Friday, when a 25-year-old man from New Zealand flew all the way to Virginia armed with a knife, duct tape, and pepper spray to meet a 14-year-old girl after they had been chatting online, the girl’s mother gave him her own kind of welcome when he tried to break into their home: she shot him.
As WTVR reports, Troy Skinner, 25, had been chatting with the girl online for three or four months using Discord, a service popular among gamers, according to Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew. Agnew said, “The younger daughter attempted to stop communications with him he was opening other accounts in an attempt to keep communications open and she did not cooperate with him.”
Skinner flew from New Zealand to Australia to Los Angeles to Washington D.C. From D.C., he took a Greyhound bus to Richmond. When he reached the girl’s home with the knife, duct tape, and pepper spray, he yelled that he had hitchhiked 30 miles to the house and needed help. Receiving no response, he started slamming the door with a brick, prompting the mother to phone her husband, who told her to grab a gun. Then, when Skinner hurled a landscaping stone through the glass door, the mother fired twice, hitting Skinner once in the neck.
Agnew commented, “This was not random, not spontaneous, this was something very planned.” He added, “He was not invited here, he was not expected here, he had been told in the past that the daughter no longer wished to communicate with him.”
A gaming buddy of Skinner’s said:
The original plan was for him to meet up with some American friends in Portland, Oregon. He arrived in Los Angeles and was going to take a bus up, I believe, and the American friends were going to pick him up. When he didn’t show up they googled his name and found the news report basically saying that he was in Virginia. I’m so bewildered by what happened; I can’t, I don’t know what was going through his head that was so outrageous. Everyone who knows him is like what the hell has happened? This is so out of character. He’s got no history of drugs, no criminal record … He may be a little aggressive but nothing really crazy. 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 of some description.
Skinner was taken to a hospital after the shooting; there is a warrant out for his arrest and he will be charged with entering a house with intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson.