Eight people, most of them women of Asian origin, were killed Tuesday evening three shootings at spas in Atlanta before police arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of being the sole shooter.
Police have not released the names of the victims or given a possible motive for the suspect, but at least four were of Korean descent, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Authorities too said the Atlanta Journal Constitution that six of the eight victims appeared to be Asian women.
The murders happened recently Wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
The first shootings began around 5 p.m. Tuesday, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, when five people were shot dead in a massage parlor, said Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker. Two of the victims died on the scene. Three were rushed to hospital, where two of them also died, Baker said.
About an hour later, Atlanta Police responded to a demand for an ongoing robbery and found three women dead at the Gold Spa, Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee said. While still on site, police received calls for shots fired at another spa across the street. There they found another woman who was fatally shot.
Video evidence “suggests that it is extremely likely” that the suspect is the same for every attack, Chafee said in a statement to the US TODAY.
“Many have asked if these shootings were related to the Cherokee County shootings,” Chafee said. “Video footage from our Video Integration Center places the Cherokee County’s vehicle in the Piedmont Road (Atlanta) area around the time of our shooting. This, along with the video evidence viewed by investigators, suggests it is most likely Our suspects are acting the same as Cherokee County, which is in custody. “
Here’s what we know:
Where did the shootings take place?
Two of the shootings took place in Atlanta on Piedmont Road, at the Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa, after a shootout in the suburbs across the street.
The first incident occurred at Young’s Asian massage parlor in a mall on Highway 92 near a rural area in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta.
Who is the suspect, Robert Long?
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, was taken into custody Tuesday evening in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta, Baker said.
Crisp County MPs received information that Long was driving south in a black SUV at around 8 p.m., a sheriff spokesman told USA TODAY.
He was discovered by Georgia State Patrol soldiers and Crisp County MPs. He was arrested and taken to the county detention center.
Long was extradited to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s custody Wednesday morning, Haley Little, a spokeswoman for the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, told USA TODAY.
Who were the victims?
The victims in the Acworth shooting were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, Baker said Constitution of the Atlanta Journal. The fifth victim was a Spanish man who was injured and taken to hospital.
All four victims of the Atlanta shootings appeared to be Asian women, the Atlanta Journal’s Constitution told police. The police did not reveal the identity of the victims.
The South Korean State Department said Wednesday that its diplomats in Atlanta confirmed that four of the women were of Korean descent.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently meeting with Secretary of State Chung Eui-yong in South Korea to discuss the murders on Wednesday. “We are appalled by this violence that has no place in America or anywhere else,” he said.
In a statement, Stop AAPI Hate tracking cases of discrimination and xenophobia Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders said, “The reported shootings of several Asian American women in Atlanta today are an indescribable tragedy – primarily for the families of the victims, but also for the Asian-American community that has moved from above racist attacks over the past year “
“This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian-American community continues to endure.”
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What’s the motive?
The police are investigating and have not speculated about the suspect’s motive.
Featuring: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, Associated Press