Calls are growing from the Asian American community for investigators to designate the Allen Mall shooting in Texas as a hate crime.
Four of the eight killed at the Premium Outlet Mall on May 6 are Asian, as is at least one of those injured, 6-year-old William Cho. His parents, Cindy and Kyu Cho, and younger brother, died in the tragedy. So did 27-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda who had been working in Dallas as an engineer. Her remains have been sent back to her family in India.
“We are calling on local and statewide officials to do their jobs and to take action to protect the safety and welfare of Texans across the state, including the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Lily Trieu, the interim executive director of Asian Texans for Justice, to Houston Public Media.
She says the pattern is the same as what happened a year ago when three Asian American were shot and killed at a Korean beauty salon in Dallas. Authorities at first confidently said that was not a hate crime, but the next day they learned the shooter was connected to two other shootings involving Asian Americans. Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia promptly reversed course and declared the shootings as hate crimes.
“This is a string of repeated actions — this has now become a pattern of the Department of Public Safety not taking the seriousness of AAPI safety as a real concern,” she said to the Star-Telegram.
At a vigil this week for the victims organized by the Dallas Asian American Historical Society, a strong sense of fear permeated the gathering.
“The recent shooting at the Allen outlet mall, which is a place frequented by families from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, was an intentional attack that intensified our sense of vulnerability and a lack of safety,” SAAVETX Education Fund founder and Executive Director Chanda Parbhoo said, reported CBS Dallas.
Advocates are calling for a complete investigation into this as a hate crime from local, state and federal authorities. It’s known that the shooter had ties to a neo-nazi group.
Four of those injured were Hispanic and the mall is heavily frequented by Asian Americans.
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