By Kevin Hogencamp
Local musician Lance Larsen’s hard-luck life got a lot tougher Monday afternoon when an unknown assailant stabbed him three times, perhaps as part of a gang initiation. Larsen called 911 from his cell phone and was treated at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and released.
Larsen, who has autism, was attacked about 5 p.m. near 12th Avenue and Barnesdale Way during his long, daily walk home from Dawson Road to his Leesburg home. He was stabbed in the neck, back and arm with a knife that he says may have had a black handle and a blade of about 2-inches. He was not robbed.
Police say they have not yet identified his assailant.
In an interview Tuesday, Larson said the attacker – a young black man or teenager — didn’t say a word to him.
“He came out of the alleyway without any provocation and took off and fled the same way he came from,” Larsen said.
Larsen said he deliberately attempts to walk through residential areas rather than heavily traveled areas for safety reasons.
“It’s a quiet street. I’ve walked on it many teams. There is no traffic,” Larson said.
Larsen said he hopes the senseless attack gets the attention of Albany leaders.
“We need to take this town back from these thugs. We’ve got to make this a safer town,” he said.
Larsen’s niece, Lorrie Jackson, agrees.
“Maybe this can be a stepping stone for making people wake up,” she said.
Larsen plays the tambourine for the Bo Henry Band. He said he thinks that he will be physically able to perform with the group this week at the Harvest Moon and this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Harvest Moon co-owner Bo Henry is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Larsen’s assailant. Tips can be called into the Albany Police Department at 431-2100 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers, which may given an additional reward, at 436-TIPS.
In 2009, Larsen ran into some additional hard times when he was banned from volunteering at the Albany Civic Center for – according to then-director John Mazzola – being overly exuberant when he met Larry the Cable Guy backstage. Then city manager Alfred Lott overruled Mazzola because some city commissioners expressed concern to Lott about Larsen being the victim of discrimination due to his disability.