The family of a 28-year-old woman who was fatally shot in Compton this weekend is asking authorities to investigate her death as a possible hate crime amid a recent rise in violent attacks targeting Asian Americans.
The victim, identified by her family as Sia Marie Xiong, was killed just before 6 a.m. Saturday at an apartment complex on the 1600 block of East Kay Street, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies responded to a report of a gunshot victim and found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound to her lower torso, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
Xiong was taken to a local hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
It’s unclear who shot her or what led to the gunfire. Detectives said a suspect or a motive have not yet been identified.
Xiong’s family said they don’t know if racial prejudice played a role in Xiong’s death. The family and supporters held a press conference Sunday afternoon to ask the Sheriff’s Department to conduct a thorough investigation and to consider all possible motives, including race.
“No one can deny the dramatic increase in Asian women being murdered across the country,” said Najee Ali, a prominent South L.A. activist.
Xiong’s father is Cambodian and her mother is Black, her aunt Akeisa Lowe said Sunday. She described her niece as a loving person.
“She was a free-spirited person with a whole lot of love and compassion,” Lowe said. “It’s really hard for me to understand for somebody to hate her so bad they want to kill her.”
She said family members are struggling to make sense of the killing. Lowe said she doesn’t know why Xiong was in Compton on Saturday since she lived in Fontana.
Xiong leaves behind a 3-year-old son. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help pay for funeral service costs and provide support for Xiong’s son.