We learn more about the difficult road to recovery for one of the three women shot inside Hair World Salon in Dallas a little over a month ago.
The shooting is being investigated as a potential hate crime against the Asian-American communityaccording to Dallas police.
A survivor’s son shares his mother’s journey to recovery, both physically and emotionally.
Dr. John Park said medical school did not prepare him for the day his mother was shot.
“I spoke at least 200 people [dead] during the Covid era because I was in New York at the time as an internist,” he said. “Even that kind of experience as a doctor, I don’t think prepared me for this.”
Park says that for some reason, her mother ventured to Hair World Salon in Dallas’ Koreatown neighborhood to get her hair done the afternoon of May 11.
She had never visited the salon before.
The 58-year-old Korean immigrant, wife, mother of two and owner of a donut shop found herself in the middle of a chaotic and traumatic situation.
Police say Jeremy Smith stopped his van on Royal Lane, entered the living room and opened fire. Park recounted what his mother told him: “He just barged in, didn’t really say anything, didn’t really demand anything. My mom made eye contact with him and he was already starting to shoot. She said he probably fired at least 10 to 15 shots. She heard many, many multiple gunshots. They were very loud. People were screaming. She saw other people’s blood spatter.
Three women were shot, including her mother and the two salon owners. There were several people in the living room at the time of the shooting who were not shot.
His mother, whom he asked not to identify by name, was shot in the buttocks area.
“Based on my own medical knowledge, she avoided paralysis by about two to three centimeters,” he said. “She was extremely lucky.”
While police are still investigating the motive for the seemingly random attack, Smith’s girlfriend told police that Smith had had delusional thoughts about Asians following an accident a few years ago.
He verbally castigated an Asian supervisor at work and was repeatedly admitted to mental health facilities, according to an affidavit of arrest.
Survivors are now trying to heal, both physically and mentally.
“My mother is afraid to go out. She suffers from insomnia, she has never had this problem before. She cries a lot. I’m worried about his mental well-being, to be honest,” Park said.
Asked if he thought the case was another example of Asian hate crimes being reported across the country, Park said he wasn’t sure.
“In fact, I want to believe that it was a mental illness that led to this incident, rather than a purely racist crime,” he said. “It would make us feel better. It’s hard to know. If that was the case, then he himself is another victim in one way or another.
A “victim,” he said, in that perhaps the medical world was not meeting his needs.
“It’s the job of a health care provider, you know, there are drugs to suppress those thoughts, those delusions, those hallucinations, those drugs work really well,” he said. “These are people at risk, people at risk. Maybe there was a trap in society, and we let them go.
The medical expert says he may one day forgive Smith if mental illness was indeed behind the attack, but he could never forgive an attack out of sheer hate.
The shooting left the DFW Asian American Community fear for their safety.
Police are still investigating a series of shootings before the living room shooting to see if they are linked.
Park said he hopes his community, which often chooses to remain silent about hate or crimes committed against them, will accept his request: “Number one, speak up and number two, don’t return hate with another hate. .”
DPD said there were no further updates to be provided on the case and no further arrests had been made.
The Northwest Patrol Division continues to monitor the area and is in contact with the community, according to DPD.
Park and his family have created a GoFundMe page to support the three injured in the shooting. You can donate here.
Police say the triple shooting at the Dallas, Texas hair salon Hair Salon World may be linked to other shootings directed at Asian-owned businesses.