by: Nate Stewart Updated:
UNION COUNTY, N.C. - An 18-year-old says he is lucky to be alive after deputies said he was stabbed three times by a total stranger.
Union County detectives arrested Matthew Gatewood in the attack. He was already on probation for a similar crime.
Lying in a Carolinas Medical Center bed, with his mother by his side, Ryan Black said he's afraid to go to sleep after he was stabbed with a 12-inch knife in the neck, arm and stomach.
"He put his arm around my neck, right here on my shoulder," Black said. "He stabbed me once in my stomach and I jumped back."
Black was leaving church in Mineral Springs on Sunday when he stopped at a gas station.
Union County deputies said Gatewood attacked Black in front of Black's sister and two young nieces.
"My sister started running, she started screaming, 'Somebody help my brother, somebody help my brother!' But nobody helped," Black said.
Black said he didn't have a chance to fight back.
"I looked and I was bleeding everywhere, so I thought my best bet is to back up and to leave," Black said. "I couldn't ball up my fist or anything."
Investigators believe the attack was random and the men don't know each other. They said Gatewood was on probation after he randomly stabbed a stranger at a Walmart in Wadesboro in 2010.
Black is asking for prayers.
"Everything happens for a reason. You don't need to ask why. It just happened," he said.
Doctors said Black is expected to make a full recovery.
The family has opened a trust for donations to help with Black's medical bill. It's under Ryan Black's name at the State Employee's Credit Union.
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