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Survivor of vicious hammer attack says he is a really lucky guy

by: CATHY SIEGNER Harry Anderson of Milwaukie, 59, credited his ball cap and good citizens for saving his life after a vicious hammer attack on Monday in the Happy Valley Walmart parking lot.

Harry Anderson of Milwaukie called himself 'a really lucky guy' two days after being viciously attacked by an oddly smiling man wielding a claw hammer in a Walmart parking lot.

Anderson, 59, was about to leave the Southeast 82nd Avenue Walmart in Happy Valley late Monday afternoon when a smiling and laughing man suddenly accosted him and bashed him twice in the head.

Anderson yelled for help and ran inside the store, while the attacker took off. The suspect, 31-year-old Johnathan Edward Jones of Gresham, was taken into custody after a short chase that ended in the nearby Sears Outlet Store parking lot. He was charged Wednesday afternoon with assault, disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a weapon.

Anderson, wearing bandages on his forehead and right hand, met with the media Wednesday afternoon at the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office headquarters. He said wearing a canvas ball cap during the attack probably helped save his life, along with quick responses from people nearby who heard his calls for help.

'I feel like I won the lottery. I'm a really lucky guy,' Anderson said. 'My ball cap saved my life, that and good citizens.'

The disabled U.S. Navy veteran said he felt like he was being followed before the attack occurred, which he said was unprovoked.

'I'd never seen him before. He looked like he was casing cars (in the parking lot),' Anderson said, adding that he believed the suspect was high on methamphetamine at the time because of the way he was acting.

'There's no explanation for that behavior, nor is there any excuse,' Anderson said.

He said the incident, which lasted about five seconds, left him with a stiff neck and a sore hand, which he had put up to block another hammer blow.

Anderson credited a 'community effort' for his rescue. 'If someone else is in that situation, help 'em out,' he advised.

Anderson's partner, Karen Peters of Milwaukie, a retired deputy sheriff, was at the briefing Wednesday but noted that she unfortunately wasn't with him at the time of the attack.