Dallas police said the attack on a Korean hair salon Wednesday afternoon may be connected to a string of attacks on Asian-owned businesses.
Dallas police have increased patrols in Asian communities in the city and are deploying more resources like cameras to the area in an attempt to stop further attacks on Asian-owned businesses, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said at a news conference Friday.
A gunman on Wednesday walked into a hair salon on Royal Lane near Interstate 35E, an Asian community in Dallas that is predominantly Korean, and shot three women before fleeing in a maroon mini van, according to Dallas police.
Police said Wednesday there was no indication of the attack being a hate crime targeting Asians, but at a news conference Friday Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said further investigation has revealed that three shootings at Asian-run businesses in the city may be connected.
A similar vehicle has been seen at each of the three businesses, according to police.
A strip mall at 2208 Royal Lane, home to predominantly Asian businesses, was targeted in a drive by in which witnesses said they saw the gunman in a red mini van. Nobody was hurt in that shooting. On May 10, witnesses said the driver of a burgundy mini van drove by Asian businesses in the area of 4849 Sunnyvale St. Four people were inside but were not injured.
If these two shootings are connected to the latest one at the hair salon Wednesday, it would mark the first time in which police are aware of the gunman going into a business to shoot at people instead of driving by.
Dallas police said they have reached out to law enforcement and community partners to ask for help and warn them about the possible string of violent hate crimes targeting Asians and Asian businesses, including the FBI and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
They’ve also asked other local agencies to look into whether or not these attacks targeting Asians have taken place in their jurisdictions, Garcia said at the news conference. The department is working with community partners to notify Asian communities and business owners of the possible targeting and have reached out to the Anti-Defamation League.
The mayor’s hate crime task force has also been notified. Police said a safety town hall scheduled for the Korean community in Dallas next week will discuss ways to protect the community, Garcia said.
“We are turning to every resident in the City of Dallas to keep an eye out and safeguard our city,” Garcia said. “Hate has no place here, and we need assistance in identifying any possible suspects.”
Garcia said the connection was not immediately made because detectives had to analyze all the shootings in the city to see if there were any possible previous attacks.
He said he wanted to reach out to the community because the crimes may be hate-related.
“As in any other instance where we feel like our community is being attacked for a reason of hate, we’re going to take this abundance of caution,” Garcia said. “I guarantee that our police department will be looking for these individuals and working hard.”
Garcia said the decision to label this as a possible hate crime came after they made the connections as soon as the other shootings were connected and that the department notified the community as soon as that possible connection was discovered.