Girlfriend: Dallas shooting suspect feared Asian Americans

May 17, 2022, 3:16 AM | Updated: 6:36 pm
This undated photo provided by the Dallas County jail shows Jeremy Smith. The girlfriend of Smith w...

This undated photo provided by the Dallas County jail shows Jeremy Smith. The girlfriend of Smith who was arrested in Dallas on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in a shooting that wounded three women in a hair salon in the city's Koreatown, told police he had been admitted to health facilities because he was having delusions about Asian Americans, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Jeremy Theron Smith, faces three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to jail records.(Dallas County jail via AP)

(Dallas County jail via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — The girlfriend of a man arrested Tuesday in a shooting that wounded three women of Asian descent in a hair salon in Dallas’ Koreatown told police that he has delusions that Asian Americans are trying to harm him, an arrest warrant affidavit states.

Jeremy Smith faces three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Smith is being held on $300,000 bond, according to jail records that do not list an attorney for him. In public records, his age is listed as both 36 and 37.

When asked at a news conference Tuesday if he considered the shooting an issue of racism, mental health or both, Dallas police Chief Eddie Garcia said it’s too early to tell.

“Right now, it’s an issue of hate. It’s a hate crime. However that manifests itself, I’m not here to say that. I can tell you that I know our community sees it as a hate crime. I see it as a hate crime and so do our men and women,” Garcia said.

Earlier Tuesday, the FBI said it has opened a federal hate crime investigation along with federal prosecutors in Texas and the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.

Police have said the shooting last Wednesday at Hair World Salon might be connected to two previous drive-by shootings at businesses run by Asian Americans. But Garcia said Tuesday that police are still investigating whether Smith, who is Black, was involved. The description of the suspect’s vehicle was similar in all three shootings.

According to the affidavit, Smith’s girlfriend told detectives that he had been delusional about Asian Americans ever since being involved in a car crash two years ago with a man of Asian descent. She said he had been admitted to several mental health facilities because of the delusions.

Whenever Smith is around an Asian American, “he begins having delusions that the Asian mob is after him or attempting to harm him,” his girlfriend told police. She said he was fired for “verbally attacking” his boss, who was of Asian descent.

Garcia declined to comment on whether Smith has been diagnosed with a mental illness or whether Smith legally obtained the gun used in the shooting, saying both questions are still being investigated.

The shooting in Dallas occurred a few days before a white gunman killed 10 Black people Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a gunman who authorities said was motivated by political hatred for Taiwan killed one person and wounded five Sunday at a southern California church where mostly elderly Taiwanese parishioners had gathered.

Anti-Asian violence has risen sharply in recent years amid the pandemic of COVID-19, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Last year, six women of Asian descent were among the eight killed in a shooting at massage businesses in and near Atlanta, heightening anger and fear among Asian Americans. In February, a man from Midland, 330 miles (531 kilometers) west of Dallas, pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes for an attack in 2020 on an Asian family because he believed they were Chinese and responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The salon in Dallas where the shooting happened is in the heart of Koreatown, which is in a part of the city that was transformed in the 1980s from an industrial area to a thriving district with shopping, dining, markets, medical offices and salons.

Authorities have said a man dressed all in black opened fire in the salon, then drove away in a maroon minivan. Garcia said investigators found that a similar vehicle had been reported as involved in two other recent shootings. Someone opened fire in an April 2 drive-by near the salon and Garcia said a similar vehicle was also linked to a May 10 shooting about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of there. No one was injured in either of those shootings.

Garcia said the suspect walked into the salon with a .22-caliber rifle and fired about 13 times. One woman was injured in her arm, one in her foot and another in her lower back, he said. They have all been released from the hospital and are recovering, according to police.

One of the women injured in the shooting spoke Monday night at a community meeting with police. Her arm in a sling, she said in Korean that she was worried about how she would continue to make a living.

“There are lives that have changed forever because of this,” Garcia said Tuesday.

Police Sr. Cpl. Soo Nam also addressed the reporters at Tuesday’s news conference, delivering a statement on the arrest in Korean for Texas-based Korean-language journalists in attendance. Garcia said the department has 10 officers who speak Korean.

Dozens of people had filled a room at the Korean Culture Center of Dallas on Monday evening for the town hall meeting with police on safety. At the meeting, Garcia had assured attendees that detectives were working nonstop on the case. Some attendees expressed thanks to police while others asked questions on what was being done to make the community safer.

John Lee, a board member and previous president of the Greater Dallas Korean American Chamber of Commerce, said he thought it was healing for attendees get reassurances from police. He noted some attendees “were more angry and let it be known and some were a little more appreciative.”

“I think the emotions ran the entire gamut from anger to pain to fear to all of that,” Lee said.

___

Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Peloton cuts jobs, raises prices in bid for profitability

NEW YORK (AP) — Peloton is laying off employees and raising prices for some of its equipment as part of its latest bid to make the business profitable and free up cash. The changes were disclosed Friday in a memo to employees of the maker of high-end exercise bikes and treadmills from its new CEO […]
15 hours ago
FILE - People spend time at the park at dusk during a summer heat wave, July 21, 2022, in Hoboken, ...
Associated Press

Hot nights: US in July sets new record for overnight warmth

Talk about hot nights, America got some for the history books last month. The continental United States in July set a record for overnight warmth, providing little relief from the day’s sizzling heat for people, animals, plants and the electric grid, meteorologists said. The average low temperature for the Lower 48 states in July was […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Publisher of USA Today, other papers axes staff to cut costs

Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. confirmed Friday that it’s laying off some of its newsroom staff, part of a cost-cutting effort to lower expenses as its revenue crumbles amid a downturn in ad sales and customer subscriptions. The McLean, Virginia-based company declined to provide details about the number of people losing their jobs. In a statement, […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

North Dakota district no longer reciting pledge at meetings

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The school board in North Dakota’s largest city decided to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, prompting a Republican lawmaker to vow to push for a voucher program that would allow public money to pay for private school tuition. The Fargo School Board voted 7-2 Wednesday to halt […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Nicaraguan police prohibit religious procession in capital

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Nicaragua’s police have prohibited a religious procession scheduled for Saturday in the capital, the latest sign of tensions between the government and the Roman Catholic Church. The Managua Archdiocese urged the faithful to come directly and peacefully to the cathedral Saturday “to pray for the church and Nicaragua.” “The National Police […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Kansas district rejects strategic plan urging diversity

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district’s board rejected a proposed strategic plan after some members questioned its emphasis on diversity and students’ mental health. The Derby Board of Education voted 4-3 this week to reject a plan presented after months of work by parents, students, employees and community members, the Kansas News Service […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Girlfriend: Dallas shooting suspect feared Asian Americans