PETERSBURG, Va. — For the last 40 years, Butch Simmons has never been afraid to walk out of the doors of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building.
Simmons was waiting for his ride Friday night when he was attacked by a stranger. Simmons said he asked the man if he could help him, but was punched immediately.
“I said, 'What are you doing? What are you doing?' He walloped me again,” explained Simmons.
Moments after the attack, Simmons made his way back to the door of the Eagles building, but the door was locked, and he could not get to his key card to open it.
Scared for his life, Simmons pretended that there was a telecom on the door of the building and called to his friends who were still inside for help.
“'Hey boys, come out here! I need some help,'” he yelled.
The attacker then backed off immediately and was out of sight when Petersburg Police arrived.
Lieutenant Greg Geist of the Petersburg Police Department said that in four days, they had three assault cases on their hands.
While Simmons’ attack was the first, the attacker, who was later identified as 32-year-old Christopher Taylor, allegedly slashed the throat of Petersburg businessman Bill Sizemore on South Crater Road two days later.
Then, on Monday morning, Taylor allegedly committed another assault that also involved a robbery.
Police were able to identify Taylor by using security footage from a local Wawa and with the help of Simmons and Sizemore.
Simmons is thankful that he was not seriously injured.
“I’m just thankful every day for the life I have and just thankful to be here and see my grandchildren grow. I want him to pay for what he did,” Simmons said.
Taylor has been charged in all three crimes. The charges include assault and battery, attempted murder, aggravated malicious wounding and robbery. He is being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond.