Rick Allen, the 59-year-old drummer of legendary rock group Def Leppard, was assaulted outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida on Monday, March 13.
Allen famously lost his arm in a New Year’s Eve car crash in 1984. After his arm was amputated, he reconfigured his drum kit so he could continue playing and touring with only three limbs.
An unprovoked attack
Allen was smoking near a valet stand at the hotel when a teenager suddenly charged full speed at him and knocked him to the ground.
The assailant was identified as 19-year-old Max Edward Hartley from Ohio, who was visiting the area for spring break. The arrest report said Hartley was hiding behind a pole and watching Allen prior to the unprovoked attack.
Allen “hit his head on the ground causing injury,” according to the report which was obtained by Yahoo Entertainment. A woman observed the altercation from the hotel lobby and rushed out to try and help, but Hartley allegedly attacked her as well, knocking her to the ground. The woman tried to escape by running back into the hotel, but Hartley dragged her out by her hair.
The suspect fled
Hartley then fled the area but was later apprehended when he allegedly damaged multiple vehicles in a nearby hotel parking garage. He was arrested and charged with two counts of battery, four counts of criminal mischief, and abusing an elderly or disabled adult.
Hartley was released on bail. After his release, he declined to answer when approached by a reporter with 7NEWS who asked if he was a Def Leppard fan.
A two-month followup
Two months after the attack, Allen opened up and said that he’s feeling “grateful.” In an interview on Good Morning America, Allen recalled hearing a couple of footsteps and seeing a sudden dark flash before finding himself on the ground in front of the hotel.
Allen said that he then “reach[ed] my hand up into the air because I thought I was going to get attacked again and I just said, ‘I am no threat to you,'” he recalled. “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.”
Having dealt with major setbacks before, Allen felt he was better prepared to get through this latest trial and is thankful to have a strong support system.
Shortly after the incident, Allen shared a statement of thanks to his fans. “Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support. Your love and prayers are truly helping,” it read. “My wife Lauren [Monroe] was thankfully not with me at the time of the incident. We are together now, and working on recovering in a safe space.”
Def Leppard, with Allen on drums as usual, is set to begin the European leg of their tour next week.
Allen has played with the band, famous for hits like “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak,” “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and “Hysteria,” since 1978.