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Man arrested in Korean-owned hair salon shooting and charged with felony aggravated assault

<i>Jamie Stengle/AP</i><br/>An arrest has been made in connection with a shooting last week at Hair World Salon in Dallas
Jamie Stengle/AP
An arrest has been made in connection with a shooting last week at Hair World Salon in Dallas

By Chris Boyette, Jamiel Lynch, Michelle Krupa and Jennifer Henderson, CNN

A man has been charged with three counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in a Dallas hair salon shooting last week that wounded three people, according to the probable cause affidavits obtained by CNN.

On May 11, Jeremy Theron Smith, 36, stopped his car in the right lane of the westbound side of 2200 Royal Lane, crossed the street, entered Hair World Salon, a Korean-owned business, with a .22 caliber rifle and began shooting, the affidavit states.

He fired approximately 13 times, hitting three people before running back to his vehicle and fleeing, according to the affidavit.

One person was shot in her right forearm, one was shot in the foot and one was shot in the lower back, the affidavit states.

Authorities have surveillance video of a man who matches the complainants’ description running back to a vehicle, the affidavit says. The affidavit describes the vehicle seen on the surveillance video as a red Honda Odyssey minivan.

On May 13, covert officers started surveilling Smith’s vehicle, and on Monday, Smith was taken into custody to be interviewed and his vehicle was impounded.

Smith was read his Miranda warning and, according to the affidavit, agreed to speak to police without an attorney present.

CNN was not able to determine if Smith has legal representation at the time of publication, and could not reach him for comment.

Smith said he was in the area of the shooting at the time, the affidavit states, adding that he owned two guns — a .380 handgun and a .22 caliber rifle “that looks like an ‘AK-47,'” and he was the only person with access to his vehicle. A .380 handgun magazine with four live rounds in it was found in the suspect’s pocket when he was taken into custody.

On May 16, a search warrant for Smith’s vehicle was executed and police found a cell phone, a Jimenez .380 handgun, a gun magazine with four live rounds and a box of Winchester .380 ammunition with six live rounds, the affidavit states.

Police interviewed Smith’s girlfriend who told them Smith had been in a motor vehicle crash about two years ago with an Asian male, and since then, Smith “has had near panic attacks when he is around anyone of Asian descent. Anytime the suspect (Smith) is around anyone of Asian descent he begins having delusions that the Asian mob is after him or attempting to harm him. Due to the delusions, the suspect has been admitted to several mental health facilities,” according to the affidavit.

CNN has reached out to Smith’s girlfriend for more details but has not yet heard back.

The affidavit also alleges that Smith was fired from a previous job for verbally attacking an Asian boss.

Smith was booked on Tuesday, according to Dallas County inmate records and is currently in Dallas County Jail, according to the affidavit.

Federal officials have opened a hate crime investigation into the shooting.

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 jointly announced the hate crime investigation in a statement Monday night.

“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.

“Based on what’s been sent to our office, there’s more than enough to justify prosecuting this as a hate crime,” Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot said Tuesday.

During a news conference on Tuesday, police said they believe there is a connection between the three recent attacks on Asian-run businesses.

“There was a connection between those shootings in that a maroon or red vehicle was driven by the unknown suspect,” Dallas Police Chief Edgardo Garcia said. “At this time, there have been no arrests on those cases as more work or investigation needs to be done before Smith can be charged in those cases.”

A day before the hair salon shooting, 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, Garcia said at the time.

The arrest comes amid a steady surge of reported hate crimes against Asian Americans and as more details emerge about a deadly weekend attack at a New York supermarket that authorities say is the latest in a series of hate-motivated mass shootings in the United States.

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.”

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CNN’s Andy Rose, Paradise Afshar and Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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