Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP) – Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen says he was blinded when he was attacked outside a South Florida hotel after a concert earlier this year.
“I heard some footsteps and then I saw it (the flash) and the next thing I knew I was on the ground,” Allen, 59, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Monday. “I landed on my back – hit my head on the pavement.”
Def Leppard was in Fort Lauderdale to perform at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino when he was attacked on March 13 while taking a smoke break outside the hotel.
Police arrested Max Hartley, 19, of Avon, Ohio, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of battery and four counts of criminal mischief, according to court records. Police said they have not determined a motive.
“I don’t think he knew who I was, but he must have seen that I was no threat because, you know, I only have one arm,” said Allen, who lost his left arm in a car accident. Given in 1984.
According to the police report, Hartley hid behind a pillar outside the hotel and then ran at Allen, knocking him to the ground. He also attacked a woman trying to help Allen, but she was not seriously injured.
Police said Hartley then fled to another hotel and began smashing car windows until he was stopped by witnesses and police arrived.
Hartley’s attorney, Kevin Gardiner, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the case.
Allen’s head hit the ground during the attack, and he and his wife, Lauren Monroe, told “Good Morning America” they are focused on his recovery.
“My heart has completely sunk into me right now. I know the journey of trauma. Everything in our house stopped and focused on him,” Monroe said.
The couple created the Raven Drum Foundation in 2001 to help trauma survivors, especially veterans and first responders.
Allen and his bandmates performed at a small venue in his hometown of Sheffield, England on Friday before starting their European tour.
“I know I won’t be playing music in a band forever,” Allen said. “But as long as I am around, I plan to make as many people happy as possible. And this is my time. This is my opportunity.”
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