UPDATE: Beckley man stabbed for saving pregnant woman's life - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Beckley man stabbed for saving pregnant woman's life

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Michael Wafford Michael Wafford

A man is being hailed a hero in Raleigh County.

A tattoo parlor owner saved a pregnant woman Friday night when her ex-boyfriend tried to kill her and her baby inside of the Beckley Plaza mall.

According to eyewitnesses, a pregnant woman was in Harvey's Beauty Salon when her ex-boyfriend, Michael Wafford, ran in and shouted to her "I'm going to kill you and your baby."

James "Ogre" Tate, owner of Awesome Ink Tattoo Parlor, heard this and sprung into action, escorting Wafford out of the Mall. Eyewitness and manager of Awesome Ink, Jonathan "D" Demello shared with us what happened next.

"By the time I got outside, Tate was at the end of the parking lot and Wafford was running across the street. I saw James walking towards me from the edge of the parking lot after he escorted Wafford off the property. He had blood on him and I thought "Wow he really put a wallop on this guy." But then I realized it was his own blood. Apparently Wafford had pulled a knife and tried to cut Tate's throat. That left him with lacerations across his chest and down his sides. I made him walk up towards the mall and lie down on the walk-way and administered first aid to him until the ambulances arrived," Demello told 59 News.

On Friday night, Beckley Police was doing a Seatbelt Safety checkpoint on Pinewood Drive when the suspect drove by right after the stabbing and an eyewitness pointed him out to police at the checkpoint. They immediately took Wafford into custody.

"I would say he was surprised to come up the road and see all the police cars," Beckley Police Corporal C.D. McCormick said.

"You don't expect to see something like that happen around here in broad daylight," Schewels salesman Glen Ellison told us. 

"We continue to pray for James and we are hoping that he will be okay and continue to get well," eyewitness and Harvey's Beauty Salon cosmetologist Brittany Ranson added.

"I'm an ex-soldier and I have faith in my country, so hopefully the justice system will do it's job and he will get the maximum sentence possible and that will be the end of it," concluded Demello.

James "Ogre" Tate is currently in stable condition at Raleigh General Hospital.

Michael Wafford is in Southern Regional Jail on $25,000 bail and is being charged with attempted 1st degree murder, malicious wounding and domestic assault.






Beckley Police responded to reports of a stabbing Friday around 6 p.m. in front of Harvey's salon in the Beckley Plaza mall.

According to Detective M. G. Bragg, Michael Dale Wafford, 38, approached his ex-girlfriend in Harvey's in a domestic dispute. James Tate, 34, intervened and attempted to escort Wafford from the property when Wafford took out his knife and stabbed Tate multiple times.

Bragg said James Tate suffered multiple wounds to his abdomen and neck and was transported to Raleigh General Hospital in critical condition.

Upon arriving, Beckley Police were able to get a vehicle description of the suspect and when he fled down Pinewood Drive in Beckley, police were able to apprehend Wafford at the Highway Safety Seatbelt checkpoint.  He was immediately taken into custody.

Michael Wafford was charged with attempted 1st degree murder, malicious wounding and domestic assault. His bond will be set Saturday and he is currently being held in Southern Regional Jail.

James Tate is now in stable condition.


911 dispatchers confirm a stabbing has occurred near the Beckley Plaza on Friday.

It happened around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

There is no word on the victim's condition right now.  Authorities are also not releasing information about a suspect.

Officers with Beckley Police are handling the investigation.

Stay with 59 News as we continue to follow this story on-air and online.