Police Chief Eddie Garcia said Friday that the shooting of three Korean women at a hair salon in northwest Dallas may have been a hate crime — a day after he told police Eliminate hate as a factor.
man Several shots were fired Wednesday Inside the Hair World salon in Terminal 2200 of Royal Lane before escaping in a red minibus. Three salon employees sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital. One customer was inside and was unhurt.
At a news conference at police headquarters, Garcia said the shooting may have been linked to at least two other crimes targeting the city’s Asian community.
The first event took place on April 2, also at 2,200 block of Royal Lane, near Interstate 35E, where the shooting took place. In three Asian-owned companies, but no one was hurt. Eyewitnesses stated that the driver fled in a red minibus.
On Tuesday, a man believed to be driving a burgundy truck fired on an Asia-operated business at the 4800 block on Sunnyvale Street near East Ledbetter Drive in East Oak Cliff. Police said three people were inside but were unharmed.
Garcia said Thursday that authorities did their due diligence and that police could “say with confidence that hate was not a motivating factor” in Wednesday’s shooting. But the president said Friday that the department’s position had changed due to the “ongoing investigation and consistent review of officer reports submitted by the department’s Crime Analysis Unit.”
“Out of great caution,” Garcia said he has reached out to agencies including the FBI, the North Texas Joint Counterterrorism Task Force and other local departments to determine if there are additional crimes in their jurisdictions that may be relevant.
The department has also been in contact with the local Asian community and business leaders, the Anti-Defamation League’s Txuma office, and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Hate Crimes Advisory Board.
In a written statement, Johnson said it was “extremely frightening and disturbing” to learn that the shooting may have been a hate crime.
“I want the Asian American community in our city—which has faced appallingly increased criticism in recent years—to know that the city of Dallas and the people of Dallas are on their side,” the mayor said.
Lilly Trio, executive director of the Austin-based Asian Defense Group, Texas for Justice, said her organization appreciates that Garcia has been listening to community concerns and is looking into whether Wednesday’s shooting is linked to other violent incidents.
“We are relieved that all three victims are safe and in a state of recovery, but this kind of attack makes our entire community feel insecure,” Trio said.
Charles Park, a North Texas-based Korean-American activist, said he believed Dallas police realized it was too early to consider the shootings a hate crime.
“It’s going to be a long way to solve this problem, but it’s one step in the right direction, I think,” he said.
Brian Kim, general secretary of the US-Korea Chamber of Commerce in Greater Dallas – a group whose main priority is ensuring safety in Korean-owned businesses – said Dallas police should take steps to provide greater security in the area.
“If this is a hate crime, we are really concerned about security, because there are many Korean companies in Royal Lane,” Kim said. “They want to be safe and protected.”
Going forward, Garcia said the department will use CCTV trailers And increase patrols in certain areas that have been or can be targeted.
Police described the gunman in Wednesday’s shooting as being 5-7 to 5-10, with a slim build, curly hair of medium length and a beard. Police said he was dressed in all black.
The police chief said authorities are sharing information about a possible motive for the shooting in the hope that it will lead to enough action to lead to an arrest.
“We go out to every citizen in the city of Dallas to watch and protect our city,” he said. “Hate has no place here. … If you see something say something.”