Philadelphia (CBS) – Philadelphia Councilman David Oh, who was stabbed by an assailant outside his home in Southwest Philadelphia last week, recounted the incident during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, saying that, initially, he did not understand the perpetrator wanted to rob him.
“When I was getting out of my car I thought that I saw a wave between a neighbor, who was standing on a porch, and this young man. I, subconsciously, just assumed they were friends. I just thought this is a person coming out of one of the neighbors homes and he’s friendly. So, my guard was down. When I went to the back of my vehicle to get all my bags, and I had a ton of bags this time, and as he was passing by I looked at him and he looked at me, he had a normal demeanor…When I closed the back of my vehicle and turned around, there he was, but with a completely different demeanor, just a sense of urgency, like something had dramatically happened. Since, I thought he was a friend of the neighbors, I was more trying to understand what he was saying. He was trying to say something. It wasn’t loud, it wasn’t clear and I was just trying to say, ‘What, what?’ Eventually, with a lot of intensity, was says keys, the keys, car, give me the car. I’m thinking to myself, was there an emergency? Does he need me to drive him some place or somebody else? He started then to talk about other things…I look down, as I’m trying to assess who he is, and I see the point of something sticking out of his right hand. It could’ve been a key holder. It could’ve been something. It could’ve been a knife. I wasn’t sure what it is, so I started to back up as I’m still trying to understand what he’s saying.”
Oh stated that once he was stabbed, he worried about the extent of the injury.
“He then, in a upward motion, punched me in the left side, which, I knew he had an object and I knew nobody punches you in the left side, basically, unless they’re sticking you with something. So, I pretty much knew I’d been stabbed…There was no pain. I’ve been a prosecutor in my past and some other things, so I’m aware that when you’re stuck with a sharp object, for the most part, once you’ve been punched, you’ve been penetrated by a sharp object, you don’t really feel it, depending on where it is, particularly your body. It’s not like he hit me in the neck or the face or something like, but once he punched me in the side, I understood that I am bleeding to some extent inside, there’s been some kind of damage.”
Despite this ordeal, he is already back to work after a quick recovery and eager to show everyone that he is fine and business will carry on a usual.
“I was motivated to get back in. My daughter and my older kids had seen me when I came in all bloody and, so, I want to get back home and put them in the right state of mind. Then, with all the outpouring from people and all the concern, some of the news reports had me, basically, on my death bed and so I thought it was good for the mental health of the city just to get back to work, let people see I was fine. Also, I have concerns about the image of our city. We’re a great city. We have wonderful people, even in our poorest, toughest neighborhoods, we have just wonderful people.”
Oh hopes the incident will lead City Council to develop a clearer focus in terms of confronting crime and making the city safer for everyone.
“It has caused a level of attention and so I hope good comes of that. However, just because I got stabbed doesn’t mean there’s any easier solution today than yesterday. I think part of it is that we have not agreed in this city on where we stand and what policy we’re going to adopt and where we are. I think that’s one of the issues. What is going to be our priority?”
He said that, as a lifelong resident of the city, he is still proud of where he is from and is determined to keep making it a better place.
“We’re pretty safe. Bad things do happen but we’ve lived here a long time. My father started his church and, ultimately, I had this argument with my father a lot of times, especially when he would comment on my bad behavior or something like that, I’d be look, I’m, kind of, the product of the area that you chose to move into and I don’t know why you stay here. Every other night the church windows would be broken, we’d have to run out and fix something, do stuff. We even had a neighborhood patrol. But, eventually, my father, who kept telling me this is a God blessed neighborhood, we’re blessed to be here, eventually, as I learned more of his story and I learned of the circumstances under which he went through, the Korean War, World War II, the Japanese occupation, all of these types of things, I began to look at is as, you know what, he’s got a point there. What I understood is what God gives you and the opportunity he provides you is a blessing. That’s a blessing and the people are a blessing. They’re wonderful people and there are problems, but I’m now an elected official and everyday I walk out of my door, I think about the issues that we face as a city.”