Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen still doesn’t know why a 19-year-old suddenly charged at him outside of his hotel in Florida earlier this year, knocking him to the ground and causing minor injuries. In his first official interview about the March incident, he expressed to Good Morning America that the potential motive, whatever it might have been, is far less important than the support and care he received during his recovery. He doesn’t think the assailant knew who he was, anyway.
“I heard a couple of steps, and then I just saw this dark, sort of flash, and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I landed on my backside and then continued on, hit my head on the pavement,” Allen explained. “I reached 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.’ I don’t think he knew who I was, but he must’ve seen I wasn’t a threat because I’ve only got one arm.”
According to a Fort Lauderdale Police report obtained by Rolling Stone in March, the attacker, Max Edward Hartley, was arrested and charged with two counts of battery, four counts of criminal mischief, and a count of abusing an elderly or disabled adult. Hartley has pleaded not guilty. Allen lost his left arm in a car accident in 1984 when he was 21 years old, which he agreed made him more prepared for this attack.
“I immediately just went to that place of just feeling grateful for the fact that I have an amazing wife and an incredible family,” Allen shared. “I just started thanking a higher power for the fact that I’m still here. I know that I’m not going to be playing music in a band forever. But while I am, I plan on making as many people happy as I possibly can. This is my opportunity. If only we could view other things in that way, you know, we’re only here for a limited time.”
Following the incident, Allen shared a statement on social media. “Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support. Your love and prayers are truly helping. 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. We are focusing on healing for everyone involved.”
Allen’s statement continued, “We ask you to join us in our effort to move from confusion and shock to compassion and empathy. We understand this act of violence can be triggering for so many people. To all of the fans, veterans, and first responders in our global community we are thinking of you all. Together with love, we can all get through these difficult times.”
The incident occurred while Def Leppard were staying in the Fort Lauderdale area for their co-headlining show with Mötley Crüe on March 12. The band will take the stage at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, on Monday to officially kick off the European leg of their world tour.