An Auckland man shot after allegedly trying to enter the home of a 14-year-old girl in the United States asked friends for money before he left the country on his first trip overseas.
Troy George Skinner, 25, was shot in the neck and remains in an intensive care unit in Richmond, Virginia. Police say he will be charged with breaking and entering with a deadly weapon with intent to commit a serious crime.
Skinner had been talking to the girl online and travelled across the world to see her despite the teenager's efforts to end communication between the two. US police say the
girl told Skinner she didn't want to see him.
Shamar Singh, a friend of Skinner's for eight years, told the Herald he was shocked and initially thought the story circulating about Skinner was a prank.
"This was the last guy I would expect to do something like this," Singh said.
Singh said the two had known each other for about eight years after they met in an internet cafe and found they had a common interest in video gaming. Skinner composed music for video games.
Singh had last seen Skinner two weeks ago when he came to borrow a few hundred dollars from him to visit a friend overseas who Skinner said was dying.
"He told me one of his gaming mates was dying."
He had asked for $1000 but Singh explained he didn't have that kind of money to spare.
Other friends told Singh they had been approached by Skinner asking for $1000 and had heard the same story of a dying friend.
Singh said he had no idea of Skinner's plan to travel to the United States and confront the girl.
It was Skinner's first time leaving the country and he had a passport delivered to Singh's house in January.
Singh said Skinner hadn't been in trouble with the law before.
A Herald source also confirmed Skinner was not facing any criminal charges in New Zealand and had no historical New Zealand court matters.
Singh said Skinner had been making a living on YouTube composing music for indie video game developers and had recently been commissioned to make an album.
Skinner entered the US last Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport.
He had flown from Auckland to Australia, then to LA, and from there to Washington DC. From the US capital he took a Greyhound bus to Richmond, the state capital of Virginia.
Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said Skinner was found with duct tape, pepper spray and a camouflage folding clip knife with a 7cm blade. The duct tape and the knife had been bought from a Walmart on the day he allegedly tried to enter the girl's family home.
Agnew said the girl's mother saw a man trying to enter her home, warned him several times she had a gun, then fired after he broke the glass on the second door he tried to open. He was hit in the neck with a bullet from a .22 handgun.
"All I can say 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.
"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."