Ardmore police are investigating the stabbing of a popular local karaoke singer who suffered multiple life-threatening injuries as the result of the attack Friday night.
Detective Matt Dunn, Ardmore Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, who is leading the investigation, said Yoshikazu "Yoshi" Hirashawa, 41, was stabbed around 10 p.m. outside the Rockford C Mart where he worked as a clerk. Hirashawa is well known as a regular performer at karaoke sites throughout Ardmore.
"He was working, and the owner's dog was in the store with him. He took the dog outside for a walk. Two people were waiting for him. He struggled with his assailants and was stabbed at least seven times in the neck, shoulder, kidneys and the leg," Dunn said.
Hirashawa was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital Ardmore and airlifted a short time later to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Dunn said the victim underwent emergency surgery shortly after he arrived at the metro hospital. However, he was able to speak with police before being taken to surgery.
"Oklahoma City police assisted us by being at the hospital when he arrived. They were able to talk with him briefly," Dunn said.
In addition to getting details of the attack from the victim, several eyewitnesses have come forward describing the attack and the pair of assailants.
"We are not releasing any information we have gotten from witnesses at this time," Dunn said. "I will confirm though that we are also reviewing surveillance tape from the store that shows the assault, as well as other similar tapes from other businesses in the area."
While the case is in the preliminary stages of investigation, Dunn said the "suspected" motive for the assault was robbery.
"They stole his keys to the building," he said. "Preliminarily it appears to have been a robbery, and they were not expecting the victim to resist."
Late Saturday, the detective said a spokesperson for hospital would only say Hirashawa was stable, but would not rank his condition.
"We will be interviewing him in detail as soon as we can," he said.
In the meantime, anyone who may have information concerning the attack, the identity or whereabouts of the assailants who has not already talked with investigators, is encouraged to contact Dunn at police headquarters at (580) 221-1212.