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Police arrest suspect in Dallas hair salon shooting; FBI opens hate crime investigation

Police in Dallas have arrested a suspect in connection with a shooting at a Dallas hair salon last week that injured three women of Korean descent, authorities said early Tuesday.

In a statement released on Twitter, the Dallas Police Department said the suspect was being interviewed and processed. It said further information would be released later on Tuesday.

The arrest came not long after the FBI said it had opened a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting.

The FBI’s Dallas field office confirmed in a statement that it had opened the probe into last Wednesday’s shooting at the Hair World Salon alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

It said investigators were also “in close communication with Dallas Police and are partnering together to thoroughly investigate this incident.”

It was not immediately clear when exactly the federal hate crime probe was opened. NBC News has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the DOJ for comment.

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.”

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.

Salon owner Chang Hye Jin, 44, who was among those injured, told NBC News she had 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.

Dennis Romero and Tony Lee contributed.