Shooting at Asian-run Dallas salon investigated as hate crime amid similar attacks, police say

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The Dallas Police Chief announced on Friday that a recent shooting at an Asian-run hair salon that injured three women may be a hate crime and may be linked to a series of similar incidents in other local businesses run by Asian Americans.

A day after the police initially had ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, Chief Eddie Garcia said at a press conference that when investigators began to connect the dots to two other recent shootings, it emerged that Wednesday’s attack at the Hair World Salon “may be motivated by more than a random act.”

“As in any other instance where we believe a portion of our community is being attacked for hate reasons, we will exercise a great deal of caution,” Garcia said, noting that Dallas police are working with partners, including the FBI, investigate. “Hate has no place here.”

The long and ugly history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States

Police responded early Wednesday afternoon to the shooting at Hair World Salon, located in the city’s Koreatown district. Three women had been shot and were rushed in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said in a statement.

The shooter had previously fled in a brown van, police said. Authorities described him as a black man with shoulder-length, curly hair and a beard.

After police said there was no indication the shooting was motivated by hate, authorities concluded that two other recent shootings at Asian-run businesses may be linked, leading authorities to believe that the attacks could be hate crimes.

Police mentioned witnesses reported that on the morning of April 2, a red van drove past a mall housing Asian-run businesses, a short walk from Hair World Salon. Shots were fired but no one was injured, says the chief of police.

On Tuesday, a driver in a burgundy van or car drove past an Asian-run business across town and fired into the building, police said. Three people were inside but were at the back of the business and were not injured, police said.

The next day, the shooting took place at the Hair World Salon. A witness told investigators that after the shooting, the shooter ran to an old-style red van, jumped in and drove off at full speed, police said in a statement.

“We need to take this person into custody,” Garcia told reporters late Friday afternoon. He said the police department would increase surveillance and patrols in areas that could be targeted, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Covid fueled anti-Asian racism. Now older Asian Americans are being attacked.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been on the rise in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Early last year there was a spate of attacks in northern California, including one in which an 84-year-old Thai man died after being pushed to the ground.

Then a March 2021 shooting at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead, including six Asian women — sparking debate over whether the rampage, carried out by a white man, was considered a crime of hate.

The shooter, Robert Aaron Long, 22, was sentenced to life in prison.

Scenes following the shooting at an Atlanta-area spa

Other incidents have hit the headlines this year. In March, a 67-year-old Asian woman in New York was punched in the head and face more than 125 times, stomped on and spat at in what authorities called a “brutal” hate crime. Surveillance video showed that a man, identified by authorities as Tammel Esco, punched the woman from behind, knocked her down, then continued beating her until she was writhing on the ground.

Attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic renew criticism that the United States is underestimating hate crimes

Following the Dallas Police Chief’s announcement that the Koreatown living room shooting may be a hate crime, Mayor Eric Johnson (D) called the possibility “chilling and deeply disturbing.”

“I want our city’s Asian American community – which has dealt appallingly with increasing vitriol in recent years – to know that the City of Dallas and the people of Dallas stand with them,” the mayor said in a statement.

John Jun, one of the founding members of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Korean American Coalition, told The Associated Press that he had hoped the living room shooting was an isolated incident, but now he is increasingly more worried.

“It looks like they are targeting Asian Americans for sure and most likely Korean American businesses in the region,” he said.

Jun, who is also a city council member for the Dallas suburb of Coppell, told the AP that Koreatown, where the salon is located, was once heavily industrial but was transformed in the 1980s and is now home to many stores. , restaurants, markets. , medical offices and salons. He said people there are “obviously shaken and on edge right now”.

Dallas police have asked residents to be on the lookout and help them identify possible suspects.

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