PHOENIX -- A Valley soldier is fighting for his life after he was stabbed 11 days ago in his front yard. Jason Okon is a three-year Army veteran who recently returned from Iraq, where he was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. He planned to get a full-time job when he returned, and eventually attend Arizona State University. When he couldn't find work, he and his wife decided to move to Wisconsin. Okon's wife, Elizabeth, said her husband was doing some yard work the day before they were scheduled to move to Wisconsin. Elizabeth Okon said a man, later identified as 34-year-old Armando Martinez-Lozano, approached Okon with a knife and said something to him in Spanish. She said her husband told Martinez-Lozano to leave, and the other man stabbed Okon in the stomach and ran away. KTAR reported that Martinez-Lozano lived within a block of the Okons' home, near 54th Avenue and Camelback Road. Elizabeth Okon called 911 and her husband was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he remains in the intensive care unit. He is comatose and on a ventilator, but his wife said Okon is in stable condition. Martinez-Lozano was arrested by police and jailed on charges of aggravated assault against Okon and the three officers who arrested him.
Police said Martinez-Lozano is an illegal immigrant and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on him. Okon's family and friends said they think the stabbing was a hate crime because Okon is a decorated soldier. His wife said he often wore his camouflage around town and in their yard. "This is domestic terrorism in its rawest form," family friend Albert Fernandez said. Police have not labeled the stabbing a hate crime.
An account has been set up at Southwest Healthcare Credit Union to help the Okon family. Elizabeth Okon is pregnant and the Okons have two daughters, ages 2 and a-half years and 8 months old, and sold almost all of their possessions in anticipation of their move to Wisconsin. Elizabeth Okon and the children have been staying with a neighbor.