One of the three victims of the May 11 Hair World Salon shooting in Dallas was nearly paralyzed from the incident, her son revealed in a new interview.
The victim, 58, headed to the salon for the first time on May 11 to get her hair done — only to be shot and then left traumatized.
“From my own medical knowledge, she dodged paralysis by about two to three centimeters,” John Park, a physician, told NBC DFW of his mother’s situation. “She was extremely lucky.”
Park said his mother recalled making eye contact with the alleged gunman, 36-year-old Jeremy Theron Smith, as he began firing shots.
“She said he probably fired at least 10 to 15 shots. She heard many, many multiple gunshots. They were very loud. People were screaming. She saw the blood splashes from the other people,” Park said.
Smith, who was arrested on May 17, is accused of firing 13 rounds at seven people. Aside from Park’s mother, the salon’s owner, Chang Hye-jin, and an unidentified employee were shot.
Park’s mother is still recovering from the incident. Although she dodged paralysis, she is now afraid to go outside and has developed insomnia.
“She cries a lot. I’m worried about her mental well-being, to be honest,” Park said.
Park’s mother, a Korean immigrant, runs a donut shop. Prior to the shooting, she enjoyed outdoor activities such as gardening, golfing and hanging out with friends at Korean restaurants.
“She did a lot of good things,” Park told Dallas Morning News in another interview. “As an immigrant, she told us to be thankful and to be equal to everyone.”
Following the shooting, Smith’s girlfriend told police that he had “near panic attacks” whenever he was around an Asian person. This fear allegedly stemmed from his involvement in a car crash with an Asian driver about two years ago.
Smith is also believed to have been involved in two earlier shootings at Asian-owned businesses. The first occurred on April 2 in the same retail center as the hair salon, while the second took place at a retail center in Oak Cliff a day before the salon shooting.
Police have begun to investigate the incidents as a hate crime. For their safety, Park said his family plans to return to Korea once his mother recovers.
“The fact that someone went after our background and ethnicity and projected their biased prejudice against us in a physical assault, it’s very traumatic,” Park said. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget about this incident.”
Smith has been charged with seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection to the salon shooting. He remains behind bars on a $700,000 bond.
Park and other family members of the three victims organized a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for medical bills. As of this writing, the campaign has collected $58,295 of its $100,000 goal.
Featured Image via FOX 7 Austin (left), Dallas Police Department (right)
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