The man accused of shooting three women at a northwest Dallas hair salon in an attack authorities say was a hate crime has been indicted on multiple felony charges.
A Dallas County grand jury handed up indictments Tuesday morning against Jeremy Theron Smith, 37, on seven counts of aggravated assault. Police say Smith shot three women of Korean descent on May 11; four other people in the building were uninjured.
Police allege Smith entered the salon in the 2200 block of Royal Lane with a .22-caliber rifle and fired 13 times before fleeing in a red van. A witness saw part of the van’s license plate, which led authorities to Smith.
Smith was arrested several days after the attack and remained in custody Tuesday at the Dallas County jail, with bail set at $700,000.
Smith’s attorney, Don Guidry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bias increases potential sentence
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said the grand jury found Smith not only committed aggravated assault, but did so with a racial bias. Creuzot said the bias component increases the potential punishment on each count — usually two to 20 years for aggravated assault — to five to 99 years or life in prison.
“It’s a hate crime,” García said then. “However that manifests itself, I’m not here to say. I can tell you I know our community sees it as a hate crime, and I see it as a hate crime.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement at the time that it was a “chilling and deeply disturbing” conclusion.
“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,” Johnson said.
‘Delusions’ about Asian people
According to an arrest-warrant affidavit, Smith’s girlfriend told police he had been admitted to several mental-health facilities because of his delusions about Asian people, in which he believes “the Asian mob is after him or attempting to harm him.”
The girlfriend said the delusions started about two years ago after Smith was involved in a car crash with an Asian man.
Smith had also been fired from a previous job for “verbally attacking” his boss, who was Asian, his girlfriend told authorities.
García said the salon attack may have been linked to two other shootings targeting Dallas’ Asian community.
On April 2, someone shot into three Asian-owned businesses in the 2200 block of Royal Lane, and witnesses said the shooter fled in a red van. No one was injured.
The day before the salon shooting, someone believed to be driving a red van fired into an Asian-run business in east Oak Cliff. No one was hurt in that shooting either.
It was unclear Tuesday whether charges had been filed in those cases.
‘Nightmare. Trauma. Insomnia.’
In the months since the shooting, the victims and their families have grappled with trauma; pain, fear and nightmares have disrupted their lives and their businesses.
John Park, a physician in New York, said his mother, who has not been publicly identified, was one of the three women wounded at the salon. She was shot in her gluteal area, while another victim was shot in the arm and the third was injured in both of her feet.
Park said before the attack, his mother was an active person who enjoyed golfing, gardening and going out to eat with her friends at Korean restaurants, and would occasionally volunteer at nursing homes with her other son. After the shooting, however, Park said she has displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including being unable to sleep, and what he believes are signs of depression.
The woman shot in the arm, who asked to be identified as M.J., was a head designer at the salon, but said her injuries had caused immense pain, preventing her from using her right arm.
“More painful thing is the feeling that why this happen to me,” she said. “Nightmare. Trauma. Insomnia.”