FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen says he was blindsided during an attack on him outside a South Florida hotel following a concert earlier this year.
“I heard a couple of steps and then I just saw this (flash) and the next thing I knew was I was on the ground,” Allen, 59, told ABC's “ Good Morning America ” in an interview broadcast Monday. “I landed on my backside — 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 March 13 while taking a smoke break outside a hotel.
Police arrested Max Hartley, a 19-year-old from 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 wasn’t a threat because, you know, I’ve only got one arm,” said Allen, who lost his left arm in a car accident in 1984.
According to the police report, Hartley was hiding behind a pillar outside the hotel and then ran at Allen, knocking him to the ground. He also attacked a woman who tried to help Allen, but she wasn't seriously injured.
Hartley then ran to another hotel and started breaking car windows until he was stopped by witnesses and police arrived, police said.
Hartley's lawyer, Kevin Gardiner, said in an email that he can't comment on a pending case.
Allen's head struck the ground during the attack, and he and his wife, Lauren Monroe, told “Good Morning America” that they've been focusing on his recovery.
“My heart just completely sank into me. I know the journey of trauma. Everything stopped in our house and focused on him,” Monroe said.
The couple created the Raven Drum Foundation to help survivors of trauma, especially veterans and first responders, in 2001.
Allen and his bandmates performed Friday at a small venue in their hometown of Sheffield, England, on Friday before kicking off their European tour.
“I know that I’m not going to be playing music in a band forever,” said Allen. “But while I am, I plan on making as many people happy as I possibly can. And this is my time. This is my opportunity.”