Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old Georgia man suspected of killing eight people in three separate shootings at spas in the greater Atlanta area Tuesday, acknowledged carrying out the murders Wednesday, telling authorities he was trying to eliminate temptation for an apparent sex addiction. Most of the victims were Asian women, but "Long told investigators the crimes were not racially motivated," the Cherokee County Sheriff's office said.
Law enforcement has been clear that it's still early in the investigation, and investigators have not settled on a motive, which is why some observers were perplexed by the decision to publicly emphasize Long's version of the story, while also appearing to express empathy for him.
Others criticized authorities for so far not giving more weight to the possibility that the shooting was an anti-Asian hate crime, with some folks pointing out that a leading South Korean newspaper quoted a witness who claimed the suspect was indeed targeting Asians.
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Vice President Kamala Harris were among the politicians who offered words of support to the Asian-American community, which has experienced a spike in hate crimes in the last year.