Dallas Salon Shooting May Be Linked to Wider Attacks on Asian Businesses
No one has been arrested in any of the cases.
The community where the salon shooting took place is known as the Asian Trade District and is within the city’s Koreatown. It is home to a growing Asian American population, and signs for Korean hair salons and Korean barbecue shops can be seen along the busy Royal Lane.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up nearly 4 percent of the population in Dallas, or 48,278 people, according to the U.S. census.
The Dallas Police Department has long had a unit made up of officers who speak languages including Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog, part of an effort to address crime concerns in Asian neighborhoods. Despite these efforts, police officials said that many crimes against Asian Americans continue to go unreported.
Chief Garcia said on Friday that the department would be increasing patrols in Asian neighborhoods of the city. “Hate has no place here,” he said.
Across the country, there was a troubling wave of crimes targeting Asian Americans at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with 279 “bias incidents” in 2020, up from 158 in 2019, according to data released by the F.B.I.
An organization that collects data on bias crimes against Asian Americans, Stop AAPI Hate, said it had received 10,905 reports of hate-related attacks from March 2020 through the end of last year. Verbal harassment made up the largest portion of reported attacks, followed by physical attacks, according to the organization.
Elected officials around Dallas said they were committed to supporting the city’s Asian community.
“The Southeast Asian and Asian community in North Texas is growing and has great cultural and political importance, and I really am saddened by anything that would make them feel like a persecuted demographic here,” said State Senator Nathan Johnson, a Democrat who represents the area.
The fact that a hair salon was targeted inspired initial comparisons to the high-profile murders in the Atlanta area last year, when a gunman went on a rampage at three spas and killed eight people, most of them women of Asian ancestry. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, who was 21 at the time, later told the police that he had frequented similar massage parlors because he had a “sexual addiction” and that he had carried out the shootings to eliminate his “temptation.”