Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Victim in knife attack on Pittsburgh's South Side recounts nearly losing his life - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A fundraiser will be held Saturday for Colin Albright, the 25-year-old cyclist whose throat was slashed by a driver who may have believed Mr. Albright had cut him off at a red light.

Mr. Albright, who was released from the hospital Monday, is suffering from blood loss and a wound to the shoulder after he was attacked Sept. 5 as he carried his bike up South Side Slope steps shortly before 11 p.m.

"Pretty much every wound was very close to fatal," he said.

One missed his carotid artery by three millimeters. Another was headed to his brain stem but deflected off his skull.

"The one in the shoulder was on track for a lung but caught the tip of a bone," he said.

At least some of his medical expenses are covered by his father's insurance. But Mr. Albright and his wife have been struggling financially since July 2011, when a house he owned in Garfield suffered a fire the day he had quit his job to begin renovating it. He tried to repair the fire damage but finally had to find a buyer. He was to have sent papers to the closing company the day after the attack.

When Chris Matrozza thinks of his friend, "he's pretty much being Job at the moment," he said. That's the biblical story of a man who suffers so God can show Satan the strength of faith and love. Both men attend Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, a South Side congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Mr. Albright had been working at Pro Bikes in Squirrel Hill, but his wife just lost a temporary job, Mr. Matrozza said. So Mr. Matrozza organized a fundraiser Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., in OTB Bicycle Cafe, on the South Side.

Many local businesses have donated raffle items, including a KHS Flite 100 road bike from Iron City Bikes.

Mr. Albright hopes the incident will move others to reflect on the destructiveness of anger, and to try to heal the world.

As he was bleeding and thought he might die, "I was at peace with that," he said.

He was acutely aware that 11,000 people die daily from malnutrition and contaminated water, and saw no reason why he should be spared if they weren't.

"Maybe God did reach out and make a special act to save me, but there are a lot of people dying every day and they are dying because of what people do," he said.

"I don't want people to forfeit their responsibility for the world that we live in and say, 'God will save people like Colin.' I want people to feel that it's our collective responsibility to create a culture, a society and individuals that do good and not harm to others."

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh police released a sketch of the suspect, a tall, slender white man in his 20s or 30s with dark, receding hair. He was driving a small sedan, possibly a silver or gray 2002 Mercury Cougar.

He had assumed his attacker was on foot. But after calling 911 he followed him down the steps and saw his car. He thought he remembered it from when he had exited the Hot Metal Bridge.

The car was stopped on a red light at Water Street while Mr. Albright raced across Water on a yellow light. Mr. Albright believes that may have prevented the driver from anticipating the green light, making him angry. But the driver said nothing, and Mr. Albright wasn't aware of being followed.

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