Police in Dallas announced the arrest of a suspect early Tuesday in connection with a shooting at a Dallas hair salon last week that injured three women of Korean descent.
Jeremy Theron Smith, 36, was identified as the suspect, according to a copy of the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by NBC News.
Dallas Police said in a statement released on Twitter early Tuesday that the suspect was being interviewed and processed. Further information is expected at a news conference Tuesday at 2 p.m local time.
Smith’s girlfriend allegedly told police that he had been involved in a car crash with an Asian driver a couple years ago and has since suffered “near panic attacks” when around people of Asian descent and had delusions that the “the Asian mob is after him or attempting to harm him,” the arrest warrant states.
He had also been fired from a job after verbally attacking a boss of Asian descent, the document said.
Because of those delusions Smith had been admitted to several mental health facilities, the arresting document said.
Smith said he was in the area of Royal Lane the day of the Hair World Salon shooting “looking for a business that could replace a broken pane of glass from a garage door,” the arrest warrant said.
The suspect told police he owns two guns: a .380 handgun and a .22 caliber rifle that that looks like an AK-47.
He was taken into custody Monday night and admitted that he was the owner of a red Honda. After the Hair World Salon shooting, police said a witness reported the suspect fled in a red vehicle.
Smith is being held in Dallas County jail on three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, jail records show. It’s not clear if Smith has a lawyer.
The arrest came not long after the FBI announced it had opened a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting at the Hair World Salon.
The FBI’s Dallas field office said in a statement that it had opened the hate-related probe alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
The DOJ confirmed an investigation had been opened the probe but did not say exactly when.
The FBI field office said it was also “in close communication with Dallas Police and are partnering together to thoroughly investigate this incident.”
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia suggested last week that the shooting at the Dallas hair salon could be part of a string of similar incidents targeting Asian businesses, an apparent reversal after initially saying police were confident “hate was not a motivating factor.”
Garcia said a similar vehicle had been used in three recent shootings, including Wednesday’s attack.
“If the root of the attacks turns out to be hate,” Garcia said, “it has no place here.”
Police have not stated if Smith has been linked to those other two shootings.
The shooting, which unfolded in an area called the Asian Trade District, known as the city’s Koreatown, saw a gunman enter the Hair World Salon at around 2:20 p.m. Wednesday and open fire, striking the three women.
The shooter then fled in a maroon minivan similar to those described in previous attacks targeting Asian American businesses, according to police.
At least 13 shots were fired as seven casings were found inside the business and six outside the main door, according to the arresting document.
Salon owner Chang Hye Jin, 44, who was among those injured, told NBC News she believed the shooting was a hate crime from the start.
“It especially feels targeted because he didn’t even demand money,” she said. “He just came in to shoot people.”
She added that the salon’s front door was usually locked and opened each time a customer visited, but said it had been left open on Wednesday because it was such a busy day.
The shooting unfolded as the U.S. continues to grapple with a surge in hate crime against people of Asian ancestry. It came just over a year after a gunman in Georgia killed eight women, with six being of Asian descent, in attacks at three different spas in the Atlanta area.
Speaking during a community safety meeting at the Korean Cultural Center of Dallas on Monday night, Garcia said detectives were making progress in the investigation into possible hate-motivated shootings targeting Asian-owned businesses, according to NBC San Diego.
“We feel very confident that we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
Chantal Da Silva is a breaking news editor for NBC News Digital based in London.
Kurt Chirbas is a senior editor for NBC News based in New York.
Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
Dennis Romero and Tony Lee contributed.
The post Police arrest suspect in Dallas hair salon shooting; FBI opens hate crime investigation appeared first on NBC News.