Luke Haddock can't wait for the snow to fly so he can strap on his snowboard and hit the hills. "I just enjoy riding with friends," he said.
But for now, all he can do is take it easy and rest following a terrifying run-in with muggers this weekend. "I was fearing for my life," Haddock said. "I couldn't figure out if they were just trying to straight up kill me on the side of the road."
The night started out great. The 20-year-old from Richmond competed in a rail jam Saturday night in downtown Burlington and did pretty well. After the competition, he went to some parties, and at 1:30 a.m. he went by himself to meet up with a buddy.
Haddock says two young men-- one white, one black or tan-skinned-- hit him in the head from behind, he thinks with the butt of a gun. "Never seen them before," he said. "They didn't ask for my money. And they kept hitting me, and hitting me, and hitting me."
The 2008 Mt. Mansfield Union High School graduate has staples in his scalp. His lung collapsed following a more severe wound near his armpit. He thought he was just punched, but it turns out he was stabbed. "I started realizing every time I took a breath, blood would like, squirt out of my side, and I was like, this is serious now. This is bad," he said.
Burlington Police want to talk to two men captured on a store surveillance camera around the time of the attack. Investigators aren't calling them suspects, but one is wearing a hat like one of the guys who jumped Haddock and then took his wallet. "I had 10 bucks in there," he said. "Those dudes got 10 dollars from me! Which was a joke! And a ton of coupons."
Reporter Jack Thurston: Has this experience changed your view of Burlington?
Luke Haddock: Definitely. I'm definitely carrying around some pepper spray from now on or something. And not rolling around alone again. Being alone is not the smartest thing.
In typical snowboarder lingo, Haddock says he's stoked to be alive and stoked to have such a great family and friends who rallied around him. Doctors told him not to push it for a few weeks, but he expects to be back to snowboarding by the new year. He hopes to further his career as a pro boarder.
Police haven't made any arrests or named any suspects. Again, they're still looking for the men in the surveillance tape. Haddock hopes his fellow Vermonters will search their memories of late Saturday night to early Sunday morning and if they saw anything suspicious near North Willard Street, call the Burlington Police Tip Line at 802-540-2222. You could also call Crime Stoppers at 802-864-6666 or toll-free at 800-427-8477. Burlington Police are offering a cash reward.
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