APD Chief addresses ‘fears’ after Galleria Oaks homicide

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — People in Northwest Austin are taking a stand after a recent homicide in their neighborhood.

After Xiaojia ‘Grace’ Chen was found dead last Wednesday inside a bathroom in a second-floor building at the Galleria Oaks shopping center, neighbors and friends grew uneasy.

According to police reports, Chen’s body had been in the room for about two hours before a worker at the complex found her.  She and her husband own Grace Language and Cultural Institute located in the shopping center.

“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.

The center is a Chinese School as well and is less than five miles from where Chen’s school was.

Wednesday night Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo answered questions about safety and other concerns.

“We have some questions about the security of the strip mall and it’s just down the street from us and we have concerns because we identify with the victim, she looks like us,” said Mok.

She said people in the Asian community are concerned the violent crime was a targeted attack.  The fear stems  from the recent homicide investigation out of Houston.

A Chinese family of four was found dead inside their Cypress home earlier this month.   Police have not indicated if the crimes are related but Mok said  she and others want a chance to ask.

“I do not want the irrational fear and thoughts to become like a snowball that grows bigger and bigger and I am trying to provide an open forum for people to ask those questions that they have and feel safe at the Asian American Culture,” said Mok.

She said another goal is to help solve the homicide in Austin and ask APD what it needs from the community and individuals.  She said victim services will be at the meeting as well to help the community cope with the loss of Chen.

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