1 in Custody After 8 Killed, Including 6 Asian Women, in Atlanta-Area Massage Parlor Shooting Spree
In the span of 45 minutes, eight people were left dead after a gunman pursued a shooting spree across three Georgia massage parlors Tuesday evening.
In the span of 45 minutes, eight people were left dead, including six Asian American women, after a gunman pursued a shooting spree across three Georgia spas Tuesday evening, according to reports. The alleged shooter may have also been on his way to Florida to possibly "carry out additional shootings," Atlanta's mayor said Wednesday morning.
The alleged shooter, identified as 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, was taken into custody shortly after the shooting spree. Investigators are now saying that the suspect potentially had a "sexual addiction" and found the spas "as a temptation" that he wanted to "eliminate," CNN reported.
Long “frequented these places in the past and may have been lashing out," Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said during a Wednesday news conference, the Post reported.
The first shooting unfolded just before 5 p.m. at a massage parlor in Cherokee County along Highway 92, where four people were killed and one taken to the hospital for injuries, the Cherokee Sheriff's Office said. Two were declared dead at the scene and two others died later at the hospital. The victims were two Asian women, a white woman, and a white man, the Atlanta Journal-Centinel reported. The fifth injured was a Hispanic man. There were two witnesses who were injured, according to reports.
The Cherokee County sheriff's office said that the community has only witnessed two homicides in the last two years.
Just a short time later, 30 miles away, police in Atlanta were called for two more shootings at two additional massage parlors across from each other on Piedmont Road. Three women were fatally wounded at Gold Spa on Piedmont.
The shooter then traveled across the road where he entered the third parlor, Aromatherapy Spa, and killed one more woman, according to the Atlanta Journal-Centinel.
Four of the victims were confirmed to be of Korean descent, according to South Korea's Foreign Ministry.
Police were eventually able to find the suspect just before 9 p.m. in south Georgia after an officer recognized his car. The suspect was later identified as 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, according to reports. After investigators reviewed the surveillance video, he was quickly identified as the same assailant in all three incidences, according to authorities.
Long was taken to Crisp County Detention Center. He has no public criminal history, NPR reported.
Police have not come forward to discuss the details of the investigation. Chief Rodney Bryant told reporters that "there is still a lot more work to be done," but authorities do not believe the suspect was pursuing a robbery as there were no items stolen at any of the three locations.
Of the eight killed, six of the victims were Asian American women, the Washington Post reported.
Since the start of the pandemic, hate crimes against Asians have spiked dramatically with a reported 3,800 incidences of discrimination in the last year, according to StopAAI a coalition to track harassment against Asians.
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