Councilman David Oh was back at work in his City Hall office Friday, less than 48 hours after being stabbed in an apparent robbery attempt.
Oh was stabbed about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday in front of his home on the 5800 block of Thomas Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.
Police are searching for the man who stabbed Oh once on his side with what Oh described as a sharp shiv. The assailant was described as an African American man in his 20s with a scruffy beard wearing black clothes. The wound penetrated Oh's diaphragm and required surgery for repair as well as exploratory surgery to make sure there was no damage to any major organs, Oh said.
"Fortunately, in the examination, they didn't see anything that appeared worrisome," Oh said. He was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon.
Dressed in a shirt and tie, sitting behind his desk, Oh quickly tried to change the subject from his assault to a hearing on the teachers' reimbursement fund planned for Monday, and a resolution that he hopes could push Harrisburg to lift a film tax-credit cap, which he says limits business that can come to the city. (He also lamented missing his own fund-raiser at the Racket Club on Thursday night. He said he wanted to go but his wife protested.)
Oh, whose 10-year-old daughter was the first to meet him at the door when he walked in bleeding following the attack, said he had no plans to move out of the neighborhood where he has lived since 1963.
He didn't always feel so connected to his block.
"I never wanted to live there as a child, especially as a teenager," he said. "Every other day a window was broken, the church alarm would go off, someone was burglarized, someone was stuck up, and when my father would be down on me for my behavior, I would say, 'Hey, I am this way because we live here, and that's kind of your fault. You came from halfway around the world to come live in one of the worst neighborhoods in America.' "
Now, Oh, 57, a father of four children 10 and under, said he is aligned with his father's way of thinking — his neighborhood is his home.
"I don't see myself moving because I was stabbed," he said. "I don't want to put my family in danger, obviously, but as an elected official, I think the important thing is that we stay, and that we try to work hard towards making a more peaceful city, and there is no simple way to do it. It is a frustrating problem, but I think it begins in the heart."
City Hall staffers popped their heads into Oh's office to welcome him back.
Oh's chief of staff, William Stewart Graham, walked in holding a copy of the Daily News. The cover was a photo of a smiling Oh and his family at the hospital.
"Your daughter made the front page of the Philly Daily News, and she's only 2!" legislative aide Matthew Pershe said.