Rush for guns as Houston's Chinese community is spooked by murder of family
With no apparent motive for the killing of a family of four, Chinese immigrants are especially anxious to protect themselves
"Could my family be next?" The question has haunted members of the Chinese community in Houston in the wake of the fatal shootings of a Chinese-American family of four last week.
The fact that authorities have not yet determined a motive for the killings nor identified any suspects has made Chinese immigrants in the area - many of whom have become naturalised US citizens - especially anxious.
A friend of the faimily told the South China Morning Post on Thursday that next-of-kins of the couple live in China and that the husband's siblings were planning to attend a memorial in Houston organised by the local Chinese community.
All four victims, including boys aged 7 and 9, were shot in the head.The names of the victims have not been released by officials but local media identified the children as Timothy Xie Sun and his younger brother Titus Xiao Sun, both pupils at Sampson Elementary School, according to reports.
Public records showed that the home belonged to Maoye Sun, 50, and his wife, Mei Xie, 49, according to local media. The police are working with Chinese consulate to locate families of the victims , according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.
"The killer's motive worries me since my family shares so many similarities with theirs" said Zhang Wei, a five-year Houston resident and father of two. Like Sun, Zhang came to the US for higher education, worked in a decent corporate job, bought property and raised a family.
A gun-owner himself, Zhang said he would not hesitate to use firearms in self-defence.
"I strongly believe more Chinese people should own guns," he said. "The Chinese community should stand and fight this together."
In fact, Zhang said news of the murder had sent many of his friends to gun shops. He owns a semi-automatic Glock pistol. The model is very popular among the community and is constantly sold out, he said.
Yet Ke Chen, a Chinese community leader in the city, disagreed.
"I don't think owning guns would help - this killer is professional and used a silencer. He even killed two kids," he said. Since the murder had gone undetected, many speculated that the killer was a professional.
"We should focus on what caused this tragedy," Chen argued, adding that he doubted the murderer set out to target the Chinese community.
Chen and his family have been living in Houston for 19 years. Like many of his contemporaries, he also owns firearms.
Local police had said earlier they found the murder "baffling" and pleaded for the public to step forward with information.