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Thursday
Apr122018

Church youth leader permanently blind, seriously burned after attacker breaks in, douses him with chemical

iStock/Thinkstock(SMYRNA, Tenn.) -- A 27-year-old church youth leader is left permanently blind and seriously burned after an attacker burst into his Tennessee home and doused with him a liquid chemical, police said.

Christopher Phiouthong was "viciously attacked" on April 5 by someone who forced his or her way into Phiouthong's home in Smyrna, about 25 miles outside of Nashville, the Smyrna Police Department said.

While Phiouthong was in the shower, the attacker "threw a powerful liquid chemical" on him, causing permanent blindness and serious burns to over half of his body, police said.

The 27-year-old was home alone at the time, police said.

Phiouthong was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

Phiouthong is a youth leader at a Salvation Army church in Nashville, according to Pastor Alyssa Irvin, who told ABC News she is "in shock that someone would do this to a godly man."

"He's passionate about Christian hip-hop music and dancing. He is a choreographer," Irvin said. "And he loves the Lord and he is dedicated to making sure that the younger generation grows up having that same love for the Lord."

Irvin said Phiouthong has been involved in this church most of his life because his parents are Salvation Army officers. They spent 13 years in Nashville, but his parents now live in Thailand, she said.

"Chris is a bright light for his community and he has a lot of people that care about him," Irvin said.

Now one week into his recovery, Irvin said Phiouthong is "doing great. He's had three surgeries. He will undergo his fourth surgery tomorrow."

She said the passionate dancer is even moving his legs in bed, managing to show his "personality despite what he is going through right now."

Police urge anyone with information about the assault to call Smyrna Police Det. Allan Nabours at 615-267-5434.

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