Athens man unable to see, speak after machete attack by homeless man

An Athens man is in critical condition after a police officer say a man brutally attacked him with a machete on Thursday. 

Fifty-three-year-old Christopher-Sullens is at Grady Memorial Hospital recovering from serious injuries he sustained during the attack in Athens.  

His sister, Teresa Sullens-Baker, tells FOX 5 he was just getting off work at a homeless center when one of its clients struck him multiple times with that machete. 

"This happened to somebody that was a helper…he was a helper. He was there to help these people," she said. "The community knew him…he was well-liked." 

Sullens-Baker says she is grateful her brother is alive after the near-deadly encounter last Thursday with this man who Athens-Clark County police say brutally attacked him. 

"When I first got to the hospital in Athens…I didn’t think he was going to make it." 

Authorities say Sullens, a manager at Advantage Homeless Day Service Center, was walking to his car when Cedric Smith, a client there, approached him wielding the machete and started swinging. 

The victim’s sister tells FOX 5 the attack came hours after an earlier altercation when her brother confronted Smith about bringing alcohol on the property—a violation of center policy.  

"You’re supposed to get a two-week ban... the guy said he was sorry and said he won’t do it again…apparently went to the woods and then sat and waited for my brother to go to his car and attacked him," Sullens-Baker stated. 

Sullens was airlifted to Grady. His sister credits staff at the day center for acting quickly to perform life-saving measures. 

"They grabbed him, did a compression wrap on his head, there was another homeless gentleman that kept a check on his vitals," she recalled. 

She tells FOX 5 Sullens has had four surgeries since the incident. He is currently unable to see or speak after the near-deadly encounter but is making some progress.  

"Major lacerations, one across his brow bone here, one on the side, one into his back," she explained. "He’s been trying to communicate today…his words have been kind of garbled."  

Smith was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.  

Sullens-Baker says while her brother has a long recovery ahead, she wants to see the suspect, who has previous convictions, prosecuted fully. 

"I’m gonna fight for however hard I need to and however long I need to just to get him some justice and make sure that this doesn’t happen to other people," she said. 

The family has started an online fundraiser to help cover ongoing medical costs. That fundraiser has since exceeded its goal.