We learn more about the tough road to recovery for one of three women who were shot at the Hair World Salon in Dallas just over a month ago.
Dallas police said the shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime against the Asian-American community.
A survivor’s son shares his mother’s journey to recovery, both physically and emotionally.
Doctor John Park said medical school didn’t prepare him for the day his mother was shot.
“I have spoken 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 that prepared me for this.”
Park says that for some reason his mother ventured to the Hair World Salon in the Koreatown neighborhood of Dallas on the afternoon of May 11 to get her hair done.
She had never been to the parlor.
The 58-year-old Korean immigrant, wife, mother of two and owner of a donut shop, found herself in a chaotic and traumatizing situation at the time.
According to police, Jeremy Smith stopped his van on Royal Lane, walked into the parlor and opened fire. Park related what his mother had told him: “He just burst in, didn’t really say anything, didn’t really demand anything. My mom made eye contact with him and he started firing shots. She said he probably fired 10 to 15 rounds. She heard many, many multiple gunshots. They were very loud. People were screaming. She saw the blood spattering from the other people.”
Three women were shot dead, including his mother and the two owners of the salon. There were several people in the salon at the time of the shooting who were not shot.
His mother, whom he would not name by name, was shot in the buttocks.
“As far as I know, she avoided paralysis by about two to three centimeters,” he said. “She has been extremely lucky.”
While police are still investigating the motive behind the seemingly random attack, Smith’s girlfriend told police that after a crash a few years ago, Smith had delusions about Asians.
He had verbally lashed out at an Asian supervisor at work and had been admitted to mental health facilities several times, according to an affidavit.
The survivors are now trying to heal, both physically and mentally.
“My mother is afraid to go outside. She suffers from insomnia, she has never had that problem before. She cries a lot. I’m concerned for her mental well-being, to be honest,” Park said.
Asked if he believes this case is another example of Asian hate crimes reported across the country, Park said he’s not sure.
“I actually want to believe that it was a mental illness that led to this incident, rather than a pure racist crime,” he said. “That would actually make us feel better. It’s hard to know. If that was the case, then somehow he himself is another victim.”
A “victim,” he said, in the sense that the medical world may not be meeting his needs in some way.
“It’s a health care professional’s job, you know. There are drugs to suppress those thoughts, delusions, hallucinations. Those drugs actually work really well,” he said. “These are high-risk people, high-risk populations. Maybe there was a pitfall in society and we let them go.”
The medical expert says he may one day forgive Smith if indeed a mental illness was behind the attack, but he could never forgive an attack out of sheer hatred.
The shooting scared the DFW Asian-American community for their safety.
Police are still investigating a series of shootings prior to the saloon shooting to see if they are related.
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 answer the hate with another one.” hate.”
DPD said there are no new updates on the case and no other arrests have been made.
The Northwest Patrol Division continues to monitor the area and is in contact with the community, DPD said.
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 related to other shootings targeting Asian businesses.