Asian community packs center to address fears after homicide

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A week after 47-year-old Grace Chen was found dead near her North Austin Language Institute, the Asian community had questions and wanted answers from Austin’s police chief.

Concerned neighbors packed into the Asian-American Cultural Center on Wednesday as Chief Art Acevedo and his command staff arrived to answer those questions.

“There’s a lot of collective fear, a lot of collective trauma, because if it could happen to her it could happen to us,” said Amy Won Mok, CEO and president of the Asian American Cultural Center.

Acevedo assured everyone Chen’s death was an isolated incident and that the Asian community was not a target.

“You can see this is a community that stands with the police,” he said. “So a word to the wise, don’t come to Austin to commit murder, because we’re not giving up.”

Acevedo said APD will keep details of the case to themselves so the culprit doesn’t know what they have. Police have previously only said Chen died from trauma to the body.

The chief encouraged everyone to be vigilant and nosy, but said not to spread rumors, because that creates fear.

Despite what the chief stated, Mok said some people in the Asian community were concerned the violent crime was a targeted attack.  The fear stems  from a recent homicide investigation out of Houston where a Chinese family of four was found dead inside their Cypress home earlier this month.   Police have not said if the crimes are related.

“I trust the police, and I thank them and the community for all they’ve done for my mom and our family,” said Jackie Chen, son of the victim.

Others in the crowd seemed satisfied with the answers they got.

“I am hopeful,” said Dan Dan Cou, best friend of the victim. “This will not become a cold case. It will stay hot and this will be solved.”

Acevedo says forensics will take a few more weeks to process from the crime scene, but that he predicts they will bear fruit that leads to an arrest.

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