FBI opens hate crime investigation into Dallas hair salon shooting

Dallas police arrested a suspect in connection with last week's shooting at a Koreatown hair salon that wounded three women of Asian descent, and federal authorities have opened a hate crime investigation, officials said on Tuesday.


Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 17-05-2022 23:39 IST | Created: 17-05-2022 23:32 IST
FBI opens hate crime investigation into Dallas hair salon shooting
Representative image Image Credit: ANI
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Dallas police arrested a suspect in connection with last week's shooting at a Koreatown hair salon that wounded three women of Asian descent, and federal authorities have opened a hate crime investigation, officials said on Tuesday. The suspect, who was not identified, was being interviewed and processed, the Dallas Police Department said on Twitter, adding that authorities will provide more information later on Tuesday.

Local media, including the Dallas Morning News, identified the suspect as Jeremy Theron Smith and reported Smith had been admitted to mental health facilities because of delusions he harbored about Asian people, according to an account his girlfriend gave to police. Reuters could not independently verify the suspect's identity. Dallas County jail records showed a Jeremy Smith was booked into jail early Tuesday morning and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime by the FBI along with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas and the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The shooter entered a hair salon in the city's Koreatown section on Wednesday, opened fire and wounded the owner of the Hair World Salon, a stylist who worked there and a customer. All three were Korean women. They were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.

Police initially said there was no evidence suggesting the shooting was a hate crime but that changed late last week when Garcia said new details uncovered during the investigation now suggested that there may be a "link to hate." He said investigators were looking into a possible connection between the Wednesday shooting and others in recent weeks targeting Asian businesses in the city. A red or maroon vehicle was spotted at all three crime scenes, he said. No one was hit in the other two shootings.

The Texas incident echoed last year's Atlanta-area shooting spree that targeted women of Asian descent, sending waves of fear and distrust within the Asian-American community. Attacks against people of Asian descent have escalated as some politicians and pundits have encouraged Americans to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic.

In Dallas, law enforcement circulated images from the scene that showed a person wearing black and carrying a large rifle while appearing to run out of a parking lot. The Korean-American community in the Dallas area ranks among the largest in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center, and Koreatown is the historic hub of the area's Asian and Asian-American residents.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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