The Dallas FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District in Texas announced the hate crime investigation in a statement Monday.
“We are in close communication with Dallas Police and are partnering together to thoroughly investigate this incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time,” the agencies said.
At the Hair World Salon, three women suffered non-life-threatening injuries on May 11 after a suspect ran in, shouted and began shooting, authorities said. The suspect ran back to a red, older-style minivan and sped away, a witness said according to police.
A day earlier, a suspect in a burgundy van or car drove by and shot into an Asian-run business, police said; three people there at the time were not injured. And on April 2, a vehicle described by witnesses as a red minivan drove past a strip mall of Asian-run businesses and fired at three businesses, Dallas Police Chief Edgardo Garcia said at the time.
Dallas police believe the three shootings may be connected because of the vehicle descriptions — and may be hate-motivated, Garcia said Friday, adding his department had reached out to the FBI and other Texas agencies.
Earlier “in the investigation, we did not have any indication that this crime was hate-motivated,” he said Friday. “As of this afternoon, that has changed.”
The possibility the shootings were motivated by hate is “chilling and deeply disturbing,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said Friday.
“I want our city’s Asian American community — which has appallingly faced increasing vitriol in recent years — to know that the City of Dallas and the people of Dallas stand with them,” he said in a statement.
Dallas police last week described the suspect in Wednesday’s shooting as “a Black male,” approximately 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10, “with a thin build, curly medium-length hair and a connecting beard.”
“To safeguard our community, we will be utilizing camera trailers in certain areas and every patrol station has been advised to increase visibility patrols in the areas of our Asian community,” Garcia said. “Most important, we are turning to every resident of the city of Dallas to keep an eye out and safeguard our city. Hate has no place here.”
CNN’s Andy Rose and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.