Dallas salon shooting suspect charged with hate crime for allegedly shooting 3 Korean women

A man accused of shooting three Asian American women at a Dallas hair salon in May was charged on Tuesday with multiple counts, including hate crime and aggravated assault, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jeremy Smith, 37, is charged with seven counts of aggravated assault, each of which is a hate crime and carries a sentence of five years to life in prison. He was arrested by Dallas police on May 16 and remains in county jail on bail set at $700,000.

After Smith entered the Koreatown facility on May 11, he allegedly fired 13 shots from a .22-caliber rifle, injuring three women – the salon owner, an employee and a customer – and endangering four others. The three women, who are all Korean, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital after the shooting, police said.

In this file photo from May 12, 2022, the interior of the Hair World Salon in Dallas is shown.

Jamie Stengel/AP, FILE

Smith allegedly targeted the victims because of “his bias or prejudice against Asian Americans,” according to the ad.

Smith’s girlfriend told police detectives he’s been paranoid about Asian Americans since he was involved in a car accident two years ago with an Asian man, an affidavit says of the font.

Whenever Smith is in the presence of an Asian American, he begins to have the illusion that “the Asian mob is after him or tries to hurt him” and was fired for “verbally assaulting” his Asian boss, his girlfriend said, according to the police affidavit.

PHOTO: In this May 12, 2022, file photo, Hair World Salon is shown in Dallas.

In this May 12, 2022 file photo, Hair World Salon is shown in Dallas.

Jamie Stengle/AP, FILE

According to the affidavit, she told police that Smith suffered panic attacks due to her delusions and was even admitted to several mental health facilities.

Texas federal prosecutors, the FBI and the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division have teamed up for a federal hate crime investigation against Smith.

In recent years, the country has seen a sharp increase in anti-Asian violence. Many attacks have been captured in viral videos, intensifying fear and anger among Asian Americans.

Last year, a gunman killed six Asian women in a shooting at massage businesses in and around Atlanta. Earlier this month, a West Texas man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking an Asian family outside a department store in Midland, Texas in 2020. The man assumed they were Chinese and therefore responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an FBI analysis of the rise in hate crimes.

PHOTO: In this photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Jeremy Smith is pictured in an undated reservation photo.

In this photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Jeremy Smith is pictured in an undated reservation photo.

Dallas County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Last May, President Joe Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which designates a Justice Department official to focus on reviewing incidents and provides grants to police departments to can establish hotlines to report hate crimes.

However, the law has also drawn criticism for increasing policing and strengthening a prison system that some say is blatantly ineffective in preventing crime and discriminatory, especially against black Americans.

ABC News

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