Police said in a statement on Facebook that at around 2.20pm on Wednesday 11 May, Dallas police were dispatched to the Koreatown salon where “an unknown Black male dressed in all black walked into the business and began shooting”.
“Three female victims were shot and transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” police added.
The police said that the suspect is between 5’7” and 5’10” (170 - 178cm) and has a “thin build with curly, medium length hair and a connecting beard”, adding that he drove away in a maroon minivan.
The area where the shooting took place is called the Asian Trade District and is known as Dallas’ Koreatown.
NBC Dallas Forth-Worth reported that all of the victims were Korean women, including the owner, an employee, and a customer present at the salon at the time of the shooting.
A motive hasn’t been determined and Police Sgt Warren Mitchell said during a press briefing on Wednesday that while there’s nothing to indicate that it was a hate crime, law enforcement isn’t ruling out that as a possibility.
He added that all three women were hit in their extremities, NBC News reported.
In surveillance footage released by police, the suspect appears to be running in the parking lot holding a rifle. Crime Stoppers has offered $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
The FBI has been called in to aid the ongoing investigation.
“If, in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.
Sgt Mitchell told the community that the suspect would be apprehended.
“It just brings an added fear in this community, and we want to make sure we do what we can to ease their fear,” he said.
Dallas City Councilman Omar Narvaez told NBC News in a statement that “these acts of violence are disturbing, and I have full faith that the Dallas Police Department will capture the perpetrators”.
“The Asian Trade District AKA Koreatown is a vibrant business community which has grown exponentially over the years, and I am committed to making sure this important business district continues to thrive,” he added.
Mr Narvaez said the neighbourhood is filled with businesses, such as food, retail, law, and insurance, operated almost only by Korean immigrants.
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that hate crimes against Asians increased by 339 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.
In March of last year, a gunman went to three different spas in the area around Atlanta and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.
The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was subsequently signed into law by President Joe Biden in May last year, directing the Department of Justice to quicken the review of hate crimes related to the Covid-19 pandemic, to build out ways to report incidents online and conduct community outreach to involve the public.
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