Who Is Sia Marie Xiong? Family Of Asian Woman Killed in L.A. Urges Hate Crime Investigation

The family of a woman who was fatally shot in Compton, California is calling for authorities to investigate her death as a possible hate crime, amid a rise in violence against Asian Americans.

Sia Marie Xiong, 27, was identified as the woman killed in the shooting in the 1600 block East Kay Street at around 5:50 a.m. on Saturday.

She was transported to a local hospital after suffering a single gunshot wound and pronounced dead there, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

A motive for the killing isn't known and no suspect has been identified, the sheriff's office said.

But Xiong's family held a press conference on Sunday, urging the sheriff's office to investigate whether racial prejudice was a factor in her killing.

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She was of Cambodian, Black and Native American descent, her family's lawyer Toni Jaramilla said.

"Given the rise in Asian Americans being murdered and the hate crimes against Asian Americans, we're asking the sheriff's department to take a look at it with that lens to see if the motivation was hate against Asians because she is of Asian descent," Jaramilla said.

Xiong's aunt Akeisa Lowe added: "I just want to ask that the sheriff's department if they can look at it from more than one view."

Community activist Najee Ali also spoke at the press conference, backing the family's calls for a thorough investigation. "No one can deny [the] dramatic increase in Asian women being murdered across this country," he said.

Xiong's death came days after six Asian women were among eight people who were shot dead at three Atlanta area spas on March 16. The shootings heightened tensions in the Asian American Pacific Islander community amid a rise in anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lowe described her niece as "a free-spirited person filled with a whole lot of love and compassion."

She added: "It's really hard for me to understand for somebody to hate her so bad they want to kill her."

Lowe told the Los Angeles Times that her niece grew up in San Diego and lived in Fontana, and family members don't know why she was in Compton on Saturday.

Lowe, who helped raise Xiong, described her as an excellent student who gained a scholarship to San Diego State University. She didn't finish her degree, and was studying to be an aesthetician, Lowe said.

Xiong's family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her funeral service and support her three-year-old son Shakur.

"Sia was so smart, funny and loving! She had so much life to live and so much love to give," Xiong's cousin Carla Jay wrote on the page.

"The fact that her life has been cut short, in such a violent manner, pains the family to the core. It's hard to grasp that we will never see or speak to her again. Hear her voice or laugh, see her grow older or make new memories with her. This baffles me that I'm writing about my cousin in the 3rd person. Please keep her mother, siblings and the rest of the family in your prayers!"

Xiong's family, Toni Jaramilla and the sheriff's office have been contacted for comment.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Woman at Stop Asian Hate vigil
A woman holding a candle and an anti-hate sign takes part in a candlelight vigil in standing up against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate and violence, at Almansor Park in Alhambra, California, on March 20, 2021. Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images