metro atlanta shootings
Law enforcement on Wednesday identified four of the victims in Tuesday's shootings that targeted spas in the metro Atlanta area.
The first of the three shootings took place at Youngs Asian Massage in Acworth. The second and third attacks were at spas across the street from each other in northeast Atlanta: Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. Eight people were killed, including six Asian women.
At Youngs Asian Massage, four people were killed and one injured. The deceased have been identified as Xiaojie Tan, 49, the spa's owner; Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Daoyou Feng, 44. Yaun's mother, Margaret Rushing, told WAGA-TV her daughter — a mom of two — went to the spa with her husband on a date. The husband locked himself in a room during the shooting and was uninjured, Yaun's sister said.
Law enforcement said the suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia, claimed he had a "sex addiction." Cherokee County Sheriff's Capt. Jay Baker told reporters that Long viewed these spas as a "temptation" that he wanted to "eliminate." Long, whose family contacted law enforcement after seeing his photo shared online by police, has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in Cherokee County and four counts of homicide in Atlanta.
Despite the fact that most of the victims were Asian, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said it's too soon to know if the attack was racially motivated. Whatever the case may be, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said "it is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop" and "we certainly will not begin to blame victims."
Baker was criticized for several remarks he made during the press conference, including when he said Long "had a really bad day" and "this is what he did." A Facebook page flagged by The Associated Press that appeared to belong to Baker also posted a photo last year of a T-shirt that had a racist message about China and COVID-19. Baker did not respond to AP's requests for comment, and the page was deleted on Wednesday night.