A total of nine people, including the gunman, were killed in a mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets in suburban Dallas, Texas, on May 6.
The Korean-American community was shocked to learn that the victims included three members of a Korean-American family: a couple and their three-year-old child.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help the families and survivors with funeral arrangements, and as of the afternoon of May 8, more than 5,000 people have donated, raising more than $290,000, far exceeding the goal of $50,000. The fundraising is still ongoing.
The couple, Kyu Song Cho (37) and Cindy Cho (35), and their three-year-old son James were shot to death in Saturday’s shooting at the mall in Allen, while the couple’s six-year-old child William was injured and is being treated in a hospital, according to the South Korean Consulate in Dallas. William is reportedly out of intensive care and recovering. Condolences for the family have been pouring in on the GoFundMe page.
“The family visited the outlet to exchange clothes William had received for his 6th birthday, four days earlier,” local news outlet Fox4News reported, noting that the children were students at Prestonwood Christian Academy.
The couple, who moved to the United States with their parents as children, were fluent in Korean. The husband worked as a lawyer specializing in immigration law and his wife was a dentist, according to Texas residents. They reportedly attended a Korean-American church and volunteered in the community.
Hundreds of posts related to racism were found on the social media accounts of Mauricio Garcia(33), who was identified as the gunman in the shooting spree, and his clothing reportedly bore the phrase “RWDS” (Right Wing Death Squad).
As a result, the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime motivated by white supremacy was raised, and the Korean American community was once again reminded of the nightmare of the Atlanta spa shooting.
The Korean American community has experienced several shootings in the past that have been labeled as hate crimes, victimizing many Asians. Now that racism has been cited as a motive for the attack, they say that fundamental measures are needed.
On March 16, 2021, a white gunman opened fire at two spas in Atlanta, Georgia, killing eight people. Six of the eight victims were Asian women, and four of them were of Korean descent.
Just over a year ago, three Korean Americans were injured in a shooting at a salon in Dallas’ Koreatown neighborhood in Texas, the same area where this shooting occurred. The shooter, Jeremy Theron Smith, a Black man, entered the salon and shot three Korean-American women – the owner, an employee, and a customer – before fleeing. The victims were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds to their arms and feet.
According to STOP AAPI Hate, an Asian hate incident reporting site, there were 11,467 reported hate incidents against Asians between March 19, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and March 31, 2022, averaging more than 15 per day. Of these incidents, 1,835 (16%) targeted ethnic Koreans, second only to ethnic Chinese (43%).
BY JIAH YOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]