By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — A married couple with a long history of service to their South Side community were the victims of a horrific attack over the weekend. Now friends are rallying to support the couple many say would “give you the shirts off their backs.”

Even in this violent city, what happened to Timothy and Renee Johnson is inconceivable.

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“It’s like a page out of a horror movie,” said their daughter, Destinee Johnson.

Their three adult children, who live in different parts of the country, rushed to their sides.

“No one wants this to happen to any person at all, let alone your own parents,” said their son Joshua Johnson.

On Saturday Timothy and Renee were on Emerald Avenue near 105th Street doing chores for Renee’s 95-year-old mother.

“It was nice outside, so you go out and clean up around the house,” said Timothy’s sister Rhonda Hutcherson. “And he was in the alley, cleaning up behind there.”

A man approached Timothy, asking if he wanted to buy something.

“My brother just told him, ‘No, I’m OK. No thank you. I’m not interested.’ And he just attacked him,” Hutcherson said.

Timothy was beaten with the shovel he was carrying to do yard work. When Renee ran to her husband, she too was attacked.

“He brutally attacked them,” Hutcherson said.

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She said it’s hard to describe.

Their eyes were gouged, parts of their ears bitten off. Prosecutors say when the 28-year-old man was arrested, he was covered in blood.

“Nobody could have imagined we would wake up on a Saturday and this was going to happen,” Destinee said.

It happened to Timothy, a minister at Salem Baptist Church who pastors on streets and parks, even as he recovers from cancer.

“I really want you to understand, and I want the people to understand, how much of a giving person he is,” said Renee. “He will give you the shirt off his back.”

It happened to Renee, a special education teacher.

“They’ve done so much for the students and people in this city, and so this to happen to them is just unfortunate,” said their son Antonio.

They are two pillars of the community now facing a long, difficult recovery.

“My parents’ hearts are so big. My parents’ love is overflowing,” said Destinee. “We don’t know why this happened, right. But it’s a nightmare, but blessings in it as well.”

It’s a blessing, they say, that there has been such an outpouring of love for the couple. They will not be able to work anytime soon, and they have a GoFundMe page.

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The 28-year-old alleged attacker is held on a $5 million bond and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.