District Attorney Susan Hawk

A large crowd turned out Monday night, Dec. 14, for another meeting with local officials at Cathedral of Hope about the recent string of attacks in Oak Lawn.

Unlike representatives of the Department of Justice attending a meeting two weeks ago that left most attendees frustrated over their seeming lack of knowledge about the attacks, District Attorney Susan Hawk was well-versed in what has taken place. These attacks, she said, have been personal.

She said one of the attacks took place on Rawlins, two blocks from where, she said, she used to walk her dog every night and go to Starbucks on Lemmon every morning.

“This concerns me, too,” she said. “I walked by there every single day.”

To show the community how seriously she took this community meeting, Hawk brought along about 15 assistant D.A.s and investigators from her office as well as Sheriff Lupe Valdez, members of the sheriff’s staff and about a dozen Dallas police officers.

Assistant Police Chief Randy Blankenbaker gave an update on the investigations. Among other things, he said there’s no reason to indicate the Oak Lawn attacks are gang-related. He also addressed the appearance of a slow police response. When police put together several of the attacks to investigate as related incidents, he said, police started investigating several incidents that took place before the parade day attack as well.

Hawk discussed programs she’s putting in place that will address offenders with mental health issues and young, first-time, non-violent offenders. (More on that in Friday’s Dallas Voice).

In general, the response to Hawk’s appearance was positive. Calls to Dallas Voice during the day Tuesday echoed comments made after the meeting. People were reassured by the strong police presence and friendly interaction. The reaction to Hawk was that she was genuinely interested in seeing these crimes solved. She said, if evidence points in that direction, she’ll prosecute these as hate crimes.