After a Christmas Day assault that left Republican Rep. Frank Pratt with severe facial lacerations, a broken nose, tied up and unconscious for several hours, he still considers the area around his business in Casa Grande “fairly safe.”
He has been released from the hospital and is recovering at his home, which is less than a mile from his business, Pratt Pools. In a phone interview Dec. 28, he indicated he was quite sore and bruised, but thankful that his injuries were not worse.
“It was very scary. I was very scared,” Pratt, 68, said. “I am fortunate in the fact that my eyes are OK. I don’t think I received a concussion or anything like that. My nose was broken and I have pretty severe cuts and bruises on my face and head.”
He received a CAT scan at the hospital where he said doctors indicated he avoided any brain damage, despite being knocked unconscious for several hours by the surprise assault.
After apparently surprising a man who appeared to be taking shelter in his business, Pratt said the intruder appeared to be calmly leaving, but that’s when it got ugly.
“I thought he was gathering up his stuff to leave because I confronted him and I was going to basically run him out,” Pratt said. “I don’t have any idea why he attacked.”
As far as a suspect goes, Pratt couldn’t think of anyone who would have reason to harm him. “I don’t think it was anybody that actually knew me. I think he was just hiding out in the building”
He has not provided details about the assailant yet, largely because he is still recovering and said he doesn’t want to provide inaccurate information. “I had been knocked unconscious, tied up and laid on the deck for about six hours. I don’t think I was the most coherent, I was in a pretty stressed-out situation.”
Pratt was discovered by his wife about 8 p.m. Dec. 25 said Mike Keck, criminal investigations commander for the Casa Grande Police Department.
Pratt had gone to his business earlier in the day to check on it and was confronted by someone who was already inside, Keck said. That’s when he was beaten and knocked unconscious, and left tied up inside the building.
When he did not return home by 4 p.m., his wife, Janice, said she tried to telephone him, but he had left his cell phone at home. She went to check on him about an hour later.
His vehicle was not at the shop. Keck said Pratt’s sport utility vehicle was stolen.
Janice Pratt did not realize her husband was inside, so she returned home. She checked the business again at 8 p.m. and noticed an unlocked gate. She then tried the door and heard her husband call for help. Pratt was then airlifted to a Phoenix hospital.
Pratt said he doesn’t know how the man got in, since the main door was locked and showed no signs of forced entry. The business does have two other doors and several windows, however.
Pratt said he routinely goes by his business on days it is closed to check on things. “It’s just kind of a habit more than anything else. Normally I pick up the mail, check messages, the pool water level, chemicals and stuff.”
Earlier media reports indicated that the assailant stole Pratt’s “state-issued” GMC Yukon. He said that the vehicle is in fact his, but he described the vehicle to police as having a license plate on the front that “identifies him as a legislator,” which is where the confusion possibly came from. The intruder also stole Pratt’s Rolex watch.
For now, Pratt is focusing on recovering and getting past the frightening incident. “I’m bruised from one end to the other,” Pratt said. “So far I just want to block it all out.”
Pratt, a Republican representing Legislative District 23, plans on being in Phoenix for the start of the 50th Legislature, since he “has the honor of opening” the session which will take place Jan. 10.
~-The Associated Press contributed to this report.~