Police Chief Eddie García said on Friday that a shooting that injured three Korean women at a hair salon in northwest Dallas was possibly a hate crime – a day after he said that the police had ruled out hate as a factor.
A man fired several shots inside the Hair World Salon in the 2200 block of Royal Lane on Wednesday before fleeing in a red van. Three salon employees were struck and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. A customer was inside and was not injured.
During a press conference at police headquarters, García said the shooting could be linked to at least two other crimes that targeted the city’s Asian community.
The first was on April 2, also in the 2200 block of Royal Lane off Interstate 35E, where shots were fired at three Asian-owned businesses, but no one was injured. Witnesses report that the driver fled in a red van.
And on Tuesday, a man suspected of driving a burgundy pickup truck shot at an Asian-run business in the 4800 block of Sunnyvale Street near East Ledbetter Drive east of Oak Cliff. Three people were inside but were not injured, police said.
García said Thursday that authorities had exercised due diligence and that police could “say with confidence that hate was not a motivating factor” in Wednesday’s shooting. But on Friday, the chief said the department’s position had changed due to “the ongoing investigation and consistent review of officer reports written by the department’s Crime Analysis Unit.”
“Out of an abundance of caution,” García said he contacted agencies such as the FBI, the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force and other local departments to determine if other crimes in their jurisdictions might be involved. linked.
The department has also been in contact with local Asian community and business leaders, the Texoma office of the Anti-Defamation League, and the Hate Crimes Advisory Council of Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
In a written statement, Johnson said it was “chilling and deeply disturbing” that the shooting may have been a hate crime.
“I want our city’s Asian American community – which has horribly faced an increase in vitriol in recent years – to know that the City of Dallas and the people of Dallas stand with them,” the mayor said.
Lily Trieu, executive director of the Austin-based advocacy group Asian Texans for Justice, said her organization appreciates that García is listening to community concerns and is investigating whether Wednesday’s shooting is linked to other violence.
“We are relieved that all three victims are safe and recovering, but this type of attack makes our whole community feel unsafe,” Trieu said.
Charles Park, a Korean American activist based in North Texas, said he believed Dallas police realized it was too early to rule out the shooting as a hate crime.
“It’s going to be a long road to solving this problem, but it’s a step in the right direction, I think,” he said.
Brian Kim, general secretary of the Greater Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce — a group whose top priority is keeping Korean businesses safe — said Dallas police should take steps to provide greater security in the city. region.
“If it’s a hate crime, we’re really worried about safety because there are a lot of Korean businesses on Royal Lane,” Kim said. “They want to be safe and protected.”
Going forward, García said the department will use surveillance camera trailers and increased patrols in certain areas that have been or could be targeted.
Police described the shooter in Wednesday’s shooting as 5-7 to 5-10, with a slim build, shoulder-length curly hair and a beard. He was dressed in black, police said.
The police chief said authorities were sharing information about the potential motive for the shooting in hopes it would trigger enough action to lead to an arrest.
“We look to every citizen of the City of Dallas to keep an eye on and protect our city,” he said. “Hate has no place here. … If you see something, say something.”