Homeless man arrested in brutal hammer attack

July 19, 2013 7:17:34 PM PDT
A homeless man was arrested and charged in the brutal hammer attack of a popular drummer in Brooklyn that cost the man an eye.

On Friday night, 44-year-old Clifford Price was charged with two counts of assault.

It was a surprise attack from behind with a hammer.

"Was he just swinging wildly?" Eyewitness News investigative reporter Sarah Wallace asked.

"Pretty wildly, yeah," said Dru Barnes, hammer attack victim.

34-year-old Dru Barnes says he has no idea why he was targeted by a hammer-wielding attacker.

The popular Fort Greene musician is finally back at home after days in the hospital where doctors had to remove his left eye and repair a fractured nose.

"Did you see the hammer?" Wallace asked.

"I didn't, until after," Barnes said.

Barnes was walking home from a friend's apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the middle of the morning last Thursday when a man started to follow him, but Barnes thought nothing of it.

"Were there any words?" Wallace asked.

"There were no words," Barnes said.

"He just started swinging," Wallace said.

"Yeah," Barnes said, "I didn't know him, he didn't know me, but he seemed to have a mission in his mind. I really focused a lot on staying alive."

"Were you able to fight back?" Wallace asked.

"No, I was dodging and weaving," Barnes said.

There are surveillance cameras in the area although the NYPD says initial images weren't helpful, but witness descriptions, combined with Barnes', may be.

"Are you angry?" Wallace asked.

"I've forgiven him completely," Barnes said.

Barnes wanted the suspect caught before he hurts anyone else, but the musician with a message of peace in his lyrics believes there's a reason this happened.

He's been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support, including a Facebook page set up to follow his healing.

Barnes does have to go through more surgeries, including one next Tuesday to repair his eye socket and get a prosthetic eye.