“He stabbed me in the neck, I hit him several times with my right hand. Then we went to the ground.”
East Side shaper Matty Raynor’s harrowing tale of a burglary gone wrong!
Laie is a sleepy community located toward the northern end of Oahu’s East side, an area most visitors drive through, featuring residents, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the world’s fifth oldest LDS Temple, and little else.
It’s a place that Oahu shaper, Matty Raynor, his wife, and their two daughters call home. Quiet, tranquil, relatively crime free; it’s a trade wind blessed safe haven on an island increasingly burdened with violence and theft.
Last Thursday, October 18th, Mr Raynor found himself in a fight for his life during a burglary gone wrong, which left Raynor severely injured, with stab wounds to the neck and side as well as a severe concussion.
It’s a harrowing tale, terrifyingly traumatic to all concerned. Raynor’s concussion has left him with memory loss, struggling to piece together exactly what happened from bits of his own dim and unreliable memory, details he told others immediately following the incident, and the recollections of those who came upon the scene as he lay injured on the ground.
Matty was understandably hesitant to speak with Stab on the record about the night in question. He’s currently viewing the world through a haze, struggling to get his life back on track while previously straight forward matters become frustratingly difficult.
The following is what he thinks happened, but he fears his memories may be wrong, or confused. He worries that others will view him as braggadocious, flippant, or label him a liar.
He is none of those things. Raynor is a man who found himself facing a life threatening ordeal and comported himself far better than can be fairly expected of anyone.
When did it happen?
It happened on Thursday night. My memory of the sequence seems to change almost day to day—it’s still all a bit fuzzy- probably part of the concussion.
I shape everything here at the house. We built a shaping room a few years back so I don’t have to drive in to work anymore. Now I just send shaped blanks down to Third Stone glass shop in Waialua, and am constantly picking up pre-shapes and color boards and running back and forth from Wade and Kerry Tokoro’s factory down in Kahalu’u.
We live on Laie Point, and you can see Boiler’s and Goat Island from our backyard.
There’s also an old, dilapidated house right behind ours that isn’t abandoned, but is empty for all but maybe two weeks of the year. I think the guy has been trying to renovate it for, like, 15 years. It just sits there, a beautiful house with an ocean view that is slowly crumbling into the ocean.
Occasionally there will be high school kids back there partying, or drifters, or people just exploring. We live in a pretty nice neighborhood, and it’s always been pretty safe for the most part.
Maybe a little after 8 o’clock that night, I can’t remember if I was out working in the shed, or getting order cards ready, but I kept hearing broken glass back in the empty house. The guy that owns it has this really intense alarm system. Sometimes if the trades are strong, the wind blows, and a palm frond will brush the side of the house and set off the alarm and the cops will come out.
If there are people back there, it’s usually just high school kids partying. I was one of those kids when I was in high school, so I’m usually pretty cool about it. I’ll walk out and and say, “Hey guys, the alarm is going off, so you’ve probably got about 10 minutes until the cops get here.”
Because it’s always been just, you know, kids. Or the occasional fisherman or two trying to get around the house to find a way through the naupaka bushes to get down to the cliff.
This time was different. They started throwing stuff at our house—I don’t know if it was beer bottles or what…at my shaping room. And I was like, “You little fuckers are going to get it. Cops will be here any second.”
The police came like they usually do, had a look around, and didn’t find anybody. They did find broken glass, an open side door and the lights on inside. It looked like someone had been squatting there for a few days. It was creepy, so we locked up extra tight that night and I slept on the couch.
Do you think this was a revenge thing? Like, they came looking for you?
No way. It could have been one of the chronics that were at the house earlier that night, but I don’t think it was a revenge thing at all. I really don’t.
We learned this week that there have been something like 28 or 29 robberies or break-ins or car thefts in the Kahuku/Laie/Hau’ula area in the couple weeks. There have been police cars everywhere—even empty patrol cars with the blue lights on—parked all over. Which has been really weird, because it’s such a relatively safe area.
We didn’t know anything about his whole recent “crime spree”—I don’t think anybody did.
So no, I don’t think there was any motive for revenge or violence at all. I think it was just a simple burglary gone wrong.
You were sleeping on the couch when you saw someone in your house?
I think it was somewhere around midnight that the crazy stuff happened.
I thought I heard something, almost like a zipper. It was weird, because I was having a dream that I was camping with my brother-in-law and you know how, when you try to sneak out of a tent at night to pee without waking a sleeping person up? In my dream he woke me up with the slow zipper sound.
We didn’t realize until the next day, that the “zipper” sound was actually a someone cutting a hole in the screen door so they could reach inside and unlock it.
I think I sat up, didn’t think anything of it, then laid back down. I heard nothing after that. That couch sucks to try to sleep on, so I think I sat up to go into bed, and that’s when I saw some light that looked like the an iPhone or a small flashlight.
Our oldest is nine, and she’s been doing some weird sleepwalking stuff at night lately. Like, trying to go pee in the kitchen garbage can. Just weird shit.
So I walked up to the light thinking she maybe snagged one of our phones and was deciding to sleep under the kitchen table, next to the file cabinet, or something like that.
I really wasn’t startled at all. In my mind it was just my kid, sleepwalking.
When I walked up this light shined into my eyes and I was blinded. I’m not sure, but I think we both paused, and looking back, I think we both startled each other. Then the light moved towards me and I realized that it was above my head, and it was someone taller than me. The rest of it was all just really fast and reactive and instinctual.
The guy lowered the light to one side and came towards me. In my mind, it was on right away. I knew what was gonna happen.
He came at me, the light lowered to one side which gave me a second for my pupils to open up and adjust a little to the darker room.
I thought he was just throwing some really sloppy punches at me, but they were punches with a blade on the end of it. From there, it was mostly a blur or adrenaline and instinct.
It’s hard for me to tell what really happened, nothing about the next part of the tussle was lucid— I can’t tell which memories are real, and which memories have been constructed by my brain to fill in the blanks to try to make sense of it all.
The few things that we know happened: he stabbed me in the neck—I hit him several times with my right hand. Then we went to the ground, where I picked up another small stab wound to the side. I ended up on top of him, threw punches and elbows until he was unconscious, and then rolled him into a choke. I squeezed as long as I could until I was sure he wouldn’t get up again—his bladder had emptied. That’s when the lights went out for me.
Apparently there was a second intruder. I didn’t hear them, or see them. But they hit me in the head with a paving stone from the backyard. I must’ve been out for a while. When I woke up, most the blood covering my chest and hands was already mostly dry, except for a slow trickle still flowing from my neck.
It was a weird night.
The scariest part—I was out of it. They brought me to Queens, to just get me solid and everything. But the next morning a friend came over to be here when our kids woke up and try to clean up some of the blood, and we have this laundry room around the side of house that was just, like—there was blood on the floor. So the actual assailants, or burglars, or whatever we’re calling them, after they hit me with the paving stone he just dragged his friend into our laundry room and hung out in there while the cops were there. And the cops didn’t even go in the house to look around or check under beds or any of that stuff.
What injuries did you suffer?
A stab wound to the neck and a small one to the side, right on my hip bone.
I smashed up my hand pretty good, and woke up in the backyard with my right arm completely out of the socket and kind of stuck behind my head.
I was obviously concussed, a bit of a banged up ear and some sore teeth from being hit with the brick. Its now been four days, and my speech is sometimes slow and slurred, memories come and go and there’s the headaches and general confusion… typical concussion symptoms.
When I woke up, I couldn’t figure out what was going on, or why I couldn’t stop throwing up. It took me a while to figure out where I was and where all the blood was coming from.
I couldn’t tell how bad the neck wound was, so I stuffed my finger in there. I eventually crawled over to our bedroom window and called out for my wife. I was just so scared to wake the kids and have one of them walk out and find me like this.
She called the police, ran outside and popped my arm back into place on her first try. It was euphoric.
The relief from the shoulder being back in eclipsed any other pain or discomfort.
Raynor belting a lip in Hawaii. Photo by Jackie Fiero.
How are you doing, emotionally?
I’m surprisingly good. Most of my emotional trauma came that night from worrying that our kids might never feel truly safe in their own home again. This is every kid’s worst nightmare, and every parent’s first priority- we NEED our kids to feel safe.
It’s maybe too soon to separate how I’m really feeling from worrying about them and Lindsay.
There’s been a fair bit of stress and frustration, feeling like I need to heal up quick so I can do my job and make life work—that’s been hard. Asking for help is also really hard for me.
Lindsay has really been amazing at communicating with other board builders, who have really rallied and gone out of their way to to help with the orders that are already in. She’s been picking up the pieces of business stuff. I’m still having a hard time figuring out where boards go, where I’m at with customers and deadlines, who I had talked to that day and everything else. Luckily, I keep really good notes.
The outpouring of love and support from people in the community has been overwhelming. Friends and strangers have made it so much easier to focus on healing and damage control. Our good friend started a GoFundme page and we’ve been blown away by people’s generosity. There are so many good people wanting to help.
All in all, I feel really peaceful about what happened. I feel a sense of closure that I don’t think anyone else can understand for now.
I feel really lucky. Or really blessed, depending on how you look at life.
We’re all alive, kids are okay, and Lindsay has been working nonstop to try to give me space to get my head and body right.
How’s your wife dealing with this?
It’s complicated. She’s a badass. She’s so tough, and so durable. She thrives in crisis situations. But she also just had someone break into her house while she was asleep with her babies and had to wake up to her husband bloodied and broken.
It’s only been a couple of days and I think we’re both still in survivor mode. She’s doing all the work right now, handling all the phone calls, texts, emails… all while basically being single mom with two kids and one grown-ass toddler that she has to keep from overdoing it everyday.
There’s gonna be a lot to unpack emotionally over the next few weeks.
But we survived. We always do.
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