Police said Friday that a shooting at a Texas hair salon earlier this week may be connected to two other recent shootings at Asian-run businesses. Dallas Police chief Eddie Garcia said during a press conference that police now believe the shootings may have been "hate-motivated" and are partnering with other agencies to investigate all three shootings.
"Hate has no place here, and so the minute we see that, we're going to take this action," Garcia said.
At around 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, the Dallas Police Department responded to reports of a shooting at Hair World Salon located in northwest Dallas after witnesses said an unknown man dressed in all black walked into the salon and began shooting. He fled the scene in a red "older-style" minivan, Garcia said.
Three Korean women sustained non-life threatening injuries in the shooting, which police originally said was not believed to be hate-motivated.
But following an investigation, Dallas police learned that witnesses to two drive-by shootings in Dallas on April 2 and May 10 reported seeing a suspect flee in a similar vehicle — described as a red or burgundy van or car. Both shootings appeared to target Asian-run businesses. No one was injured in either shooting.
Officials are still searching for the suspect, who is described as a 5'7" to 5'10" Black man with a thin build and curly medium-length hair, as well as a connecting beard. Every police station has been advised to increase patrols in Asian communities, Garcia said.
Dallas police are working with the FBI and member agencies of the FBI's joint terrorism task force, as well as other local Texas authorities. They are also reaching out to Asian community and business leaders, the Anti-Defamation League, the mayor of Dallas, and the mayor's anti-hate crime advisory council, according to Garcia.
"The possibility that we are dealing with a violent gunman who is motivated by hate is chilling and deeply disturbing," Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement Friday evening. "And I want our city's Asian American community — which has appallingly faced increasing vitriol in recent years — to know that the City of Dallas and the people of Dallas stand with them."
The mayor's anti-hate crime advisory council offered its "unwavering support to all the individuals impacted by this act of hate" and said it stands "in solidarity with the Asian American community."
A Korean American town hall meeting has been scheduled to discuss safety in the community, according to police. Those with information about the incident are urged to contact the Dallas Police Department.
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