Armed neighbor credited for saving mother-of-four’s life during hatchet attack

Tonya Taylor (Photo: WKRN)

HICKMAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been nearly eight months since a Hickman County woman was savagely attacked with a hatchet by her ex-husband.

The mother-of-four probably would have been killed in her own home if not for the quick actions of her neighbor who had a gun, the necessary training, and courage to come to her friend’s rescue.

It happened on June 13, 2017 as Tonya Taylor’s ex-husband allegedly burst through her home and attacked her with a hatchet.

“He hit me right here with a hatchet,” she said. “He hit me with the blunt side of a hatchet.”

MORE: ‘She saved my life’: Centerville woman speaks for first time after hatchet attack

In an interview a few weeks later, Taylor described her serious injuries.

(Courtesy: Hickman County Sheriff’s Office)

“I had a fractured skull,” she said. “There was a small brain bleed. I had four staples here, and seven stitches here. My lip was busted pretty good and I had a loose tooth.”

Kristy Goins lives a few houses away from Taylor and knew about the couple’s stormy past.

“I saw Tonya’s kids running out of the house screaming,” she recalled. “I immediately went to by glove box and got my gun. She kept telling me he would kill her when he got out of jail.”

By trade, Goins is a hairdresser and a security officer. She has a 9 mm, a carry permit and the training needed to defend herself and her good friend.

“When I got there, there was blood everywhere,” Goins recalled. “He had drug her to the bedroom and locked the door. I knew it was bad. There was blood everywhere – in the living room and all over the door frame.”

Goins said she and her husband kicked in a bathroom door to get to Taylor.

“He had Tonya in a headlock and he kept moving around,” Goins said.

Taylor said she remembers thinking she was going to die in that bathroom.

“It looked bad. You couldn’t even tell her face – there was so much blood,” Goins told News 2.

After the attack, Taylor told News 2, “I had my hair in a ponytail and he was holding my hair. I was lifeless.”

According to Goins, she and her husband wrestled the hatchet away from William Taylor, who pulled a knife and was still allegedly threatening to kill his ex.

“I kept telling him, ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to shoot you.’ I didn’t know what his next move was going to be,” she said.

Kristy Goins (Photo: WKRN)

Goins ultimately opened fire, striking William Taylor in the shoulder.

“He grabbed his arm and said, ‘I think you got me’ like nothing happened,” she said. “When he did that, we all got a little more scared because we didn’t know what to expect next.”

Goins fired her gun again, this time striking the man in his leg.

“He let her go and used his head and knocked out a bathroom window and a grown man went out a bathroom window this wide. That was the scariest part. I was like, ‘What just happened?’” Goins recalled.

William Taylor died in the front yard from his injuries.

“I still have to deal with the fact that I killed someone,” Goins told News 2.

Tonya Taylor credits Goins and her husband for saving her life that summer day.

“She saved my life. Her and her husband saved my life. If it were not for them, I would not be here,” she said.

Goins said, “It’s not something I thought I would ever have to do, but I’m glad I had the training to do it, and I’m glad I had my gun. It gives me joy inside to know she is still with me because I don’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been armed.”

Taylor is expected to recover from her injuries. Goins has since been cleared by a grand jury in the shooting. She said she and others associated with the horrific ordeal have undergone significant counseling to cope with the tragedy.