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'They seemed fine, they were great': Valley man attacked helping strangers

Scott Skinner just wanted to help two strangers in need on Christmas Eve. But the good deed ended in a scary situation.

Scott Skinner just wanted to spread some Christmas spirit to two strangers down on their luck. But the encounter ended with Skinner being attacked and left with a huge scar across his chest.

It was Christmas Eve.

His plans of spending the holidays in Chicago with his parents had just been canceled after they tested positive for COVID-19 and his two daughters were spending time with their mother.

So, Skinner was at home doing some last-minute gift wrapping.

He wanted to know if his daughters had received Christmas letters and went to check his mailbox. While outside, he encountered a couple passing by his home near 37th Street and Thomas Road.

"Hey, you guys, Merry Christmas," he remembers saying before sparking up a conversation with them.

“I said, ‘what are you guys up to tonight?’ and they said, ‘not a whole lot, we’re actually homeless,’” Skinner said.

Wanting to share the holiday spirit, Skinner invited the couple to his home for food and water.

“They seemed fine, they were great,” Skinner said. “We talked about my house and what they did.”

Skinner remembers the woman leaving about 20 minutes into the house invitation. He and the man stayed for some time after that.

But when he was walking the man out of his home, Skinner said the man told him, "well, at least I know where you live now" before attacking him.

“I just [felt] like this punch glance off my shoulder and I’m like, whatever keep moving, then he goes, ‘no, that’s how you’re going to die tonight' and I’m like ‘what is he talking about?’ then all of a sudden, blood just starts pouring out of my neck and chest,” Skinner said.

As the man ran off into the street, Skinner went inside his home to see his injury.

He remembers trying to call 911, but his phone was dead. Skinner then ran to one of his neighbors’ houses to get help.

“It was scary knowing that maybe one-inch higher I would have not had a chance,” Skinner said. “I lost a lot of blood.”

Skinner suffered a large cut to his chest that required several staples and he ended up spending most of Christmas day at the hospital, alone.

Phoenix police are investigating the incident as an aggravated assault case. The suspect still remains at large.

“I’m thankful the cut wasn’t too severe, at least the bar is low for next Christmas,” Skinner jokingly said.

This week Skinner will get the staples on his chest removed. Despite the attack, he still wants to keep doing good things for others. But this time, with caution.

“If I’m ever going to do something like that again, do it in a more organized place, maybe at a shelter or something, as opposed to inviting people into my home, I guess because you never know,” Skinner said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Skinner with the medical bills.

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