Goochland mom shoots man who flew around the world to track down her teenage daughter

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 10:48:32-04

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. -- The FBI is now investigating after a woman shot a New Zealand man outside her Goochland County home Friday afternoon.

Troy Skinner, 25, flew to Virginia to meet the woman's teenage daughter after the two chatted online using Discord, a service popular among gamers, the Goochland County Sheriff said.

The 14-year-old girl's mother shot Skinner when he attempted to break into the family's home in the Holland Hills community, the sheriff said.

"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," Goochland Sheriff Jim Agnew said.

The violent encounter took place Friday when the mother was home with her two daughters.

They heard Skinner banging on the door with a brick, the sheriff said.

When the mother called her husband, he told her to grab a gun.

When Skinner threw a landscaping stone through the glass door, the teenage girl's mother fired twice, hitting Skinner once in the neck.

He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive the shooting.

Skinner’s long-time friend, who does not want to be identified, describes his gaming buddy as an anti-social loner who was not a family man.

“Not many people know him that well he’s got a really narrow group of people who know him he didn’t have a wide social circle whatsoever,” said his friend.  “There’s a group of seven people who have known him for a long time and chat with him daily or semi-regular basis on game related stuff.”

His friend said he knew Skinner was traveling to the United States but thought he was headed to the west coast for a visit with friends before pursuing his studies in law at The University of Auckland.

“The original plan was for him to meet up with some American friends in Portland, Oregon,” said Skinner’s friend.   “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,” his friend added.

The sheriff said Skinner first encountered the 14-year-old girl using the Discord chat service.

After three or four months of conversation, the girl attempted to end their communication.

“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,” said Sheriff Agnew.

Skinner then flew from New Zealand to Australia, Australia to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Washington D.C. From D.C., he took a Greyhound bus to Richmond.

In Richmond, he stayed at Hosteling International USA, according to investigators.

When he arrived at the family's home, he yelled that he had hitchhiked 30 miles to the house and needed help.

"This was not random, not spontaneous, this was something very planned," Sheriff Agnew said.

He was carrying a knife, duct tape, and pepper spray -- that he purchased at the Short Pump Walmart -- when he arrived at the family's home.

“Then you hear about duct tape, knife and are like what the hell is this?” said Skinner’s friend.  “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” he added.

His friend said Skinner had also mentioned to his flatmates that he was stressed about a relationship.

Skinner has not yet officially been charged with a crime but there is a warrant out for his arrest and he will be charged with entering dwelling house, etc., with intent to commit murder, rape robbery or arson.

He was transferred out of the intensive care unit at the VCU Medical Center on Monday.  He is accompanied by a deputy but the sheriff says he isn't talking.

Sheriff Agnew said Skinner had planned on returning to New Zealand June 30.

Skinner’s friend said police in New Zealand were attempting to reach Skinner’s father.  His mother and sister he said live in Australia.

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