Weeks after a shooting at a local Korean hair salon, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has called on Dallas City Council for a full briefing on strategies to end and prevent further violence.
Johnson spoke on the issue Thursday before some 200 members of the Greater Dallas Korean American Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon honoring city police officials.
Seven people were inside Hair World Salon at 2216 Royal Ln. on May 11 when Jeremy Smith, 36, allegedly entered and fired 13 rounds. The shooting wounded three women: the salon owner, an employee and a customer.
Smith was arrested on May 17 and later charged with seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He remains behind bars on a $700,000 bond.
“I don’t have to tell the people in this room how high the stakes are,” Johnson said at Thursday’s event. “I was horrified when the Korean American community was the target of violence motivated by hate.”
Dallas police are investigating the case as a hate crime after initially ruling it out. Smith’s girlfriend told authorities that he had “near panic attacks” whenever he was around an Asian person, which allegedly stemmed from his involvement in a car crash with an Asian driver about two years ago.
Smith was also allegedly sacked from a job after “verbally attacking” an Asian boss. For his delusions, he had been admitted to mental health facilities, his girlfriend said.
At present, police are investigating whether Smith was also involved in two other shootings at Asian-owned businesses. But Johnson said they cannot solve the city’s violence problem on their own.
The Dallas branch of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Texas, and the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department are now all involved in investigating the salon shooting. “Every part of our criminal justice system has to do their part to make sure our community is safe,” Johnson said.
How Dallas will tackle the nationwide issue of violence remains to be seen. Johnson, who has made public safety his first priority in office, said the City Council shares a vision of making Dallas “the safest large city in the United States of America.”