The Associated Press is reporting:
ATLANTA (AP) — Shootings at two massage parlors in Atlanta and one in the suburbs Tuesday evening left eight people dead, many of them women of Asian descent, authorities said. A 21-year-old man suspected in the shootings was taken into custody in southwest Georgia hours later after a manhunt, police said.
The attacks began around 5 p.m., when five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in a strip mall near a rural area in Acworth, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said. Two people died at the scene and three were transported to a hospital where two of them also died, Baker said.
Around 5:50 p.m., police in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, responding to a call of a robbery in progress, found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta. While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman who appeared to have been shot dead inside the business.
The shootings occurred at a time when hate crimes targeting Asian Americans are at an all-time high. In 2020, crimes against Asian Americans rose by nearly 150 percent in 16 of the largest U.S. cities, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
During his first prime-time address to the nation last Thursday, President Joe Biden denounced “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” during the coronavirus pandemic.
"At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives," Biden said of Asian Americans. “And still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It's wrong, it's un-American and it must stop,"
Authorities identified the suspect in custody as 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, of Woodstock, Georgia. He was captured about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
The New York Times reported:
The suspect n custody is white, and it was not clear whether there was a racial motivation in the shootings. Even so, Stop AAPI Hate, formed to prevent anti-Asian discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic, called the shootings “an unspeakable tragedy” for both the victims’ families and an Asian-American community that has “been reeling from high levels of racist attacks.”
The Daily Beast quoted the tagline on an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long.
“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.”
On Tuesday evening, Long’s Facebook page appeared to have been removed from the site. The Daily Beast reported that a Facebook video featuring Long at his local church, Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, had also been removed.
,The Daily Beast said the 2018 Facebook video showed Long talking about his path towards baptism.
“As many of you may remember, when I was eight years old I thought I was becoming a Christian, and got baptized during that time. And I remember a lot of the reason for that is a lot of my friends in my Sunday school class were doing that,” Long is quoted as saying.
The elders of the church released a statement to Heavy.com:
“We are grieved to hear the tragic news about the multiple deaths in the Atlanta area. We are heartbroken for all involved. We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them. Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well.”
According to the sheriff’s office, Long was first identified as the suspect in the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County that left four people dead and one person wounded, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Long is also a suspect in two more shootings at massage parlors in northeast Atlanta that resulted in four more deaths, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.
“It does appear that it’s the same suspect,” Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee sheriff’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He confirmed that surveillance images indicate that Long is the suspect in all three shootings.
Baker said those killed inside Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man. A Hispanic man was wounded and taken to the hospital.
Atlanta police said three women were found dead from gunshot wounds inside the Gold Spa, which is about 30 miles from the shooting site in Cherokee. Another women was found dead from a gunshot wound inside the Aromatherapy Spa across the street. Atlanta police said that all four victims appeared to be Asian women.
Former guy appeared on Fox News and again referred to the “”China virus COVID.”
In New York City, the police department deployed officers from the Critical Response Command to Asian communities around the city on Tuesday night after the Atlanta shootings.
The NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau tweeted: “While there is no known nexus to #NYC we will be deploying assets to our great Asian communities across the city out of an abundance of caution.”