Atlanta, Georgia: The 21-year-old suspect, Robert Aaron Long, is charged with eight counts of murder as well as assault. On Tuesday night, he visited the massage parlors and took three rounds of shots, killing eight, six of the victims being Asians. Later, he was arrested and the Atlanta police stated that the 21-year-old man was arrested and charged in the fatal shootings that took place at three massage parlors Tuesday night. The attack comes during a time of increased crimes against Asian-Americans.
His parents alerted the police that they believed their son might be the suspect, and the police were able to track his phone and arrest him. Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said that Mr. Long had told the police he was driving to Florida when he was caught after the shootings on Tuesday evening. He also informed them that he may have been trying to commit similar violence at a business connected to the “porn industry” there.
Capt Jay Baker said that Mr. Long was caught with a 9mm handgun and did not resist arrest, charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
An official from the South Korean Consulate in Atlanta quoting the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, confirmed on Wednesday that four of the eight killed in the shooting spree were ethnic Koreans and suspected to be a racial attack though the cause of the attack is still being investigated.
Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said the suspect may have been a patron and claimed to have a “sex addiction”.
According to CBS News, the suspect told investigators that “he loved God and guns.”
The sequence of events of the shooting:
The first happened at about 17:00 (21:00 GMT) on Tuesday night at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Cherokee County.
Two people died at the spot and three were taken to hospital, where two more died, sheriff’s office spokesman Capt Baker said. He later identified that the victims were two Asian women, a white woman, and a white man, and a Hispanic man had been injured. While his wife succumbed, the husband survived the attack and was unharmed. The couple have two children.
In less than an hour later, via 911, the police were called to a “robbery in progress” at Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta. From the 911 call recording released on Wednesday, a woman tells the dispatcher that she’s hiding from the assailant.
“Do you have a description of the male?” the operator asks.
“We’re hiding right now,” the woman replies. “They have a gun.”
“Please come, ok?” she says.
The map shows the location of the shootings in Atlanta
When authorities arrived at the spa, “officers located three females deceased inside the location from apparent gunshot wounds”, police said.
While there, officers were called to a spa across the street, called Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another woman shot dead.
On a second 911 call, a woman tells the operator that she got a call from a friend who said a man had entered the spa and fired a gun.
“They said some guy came in… We heard a gunshot and the lady’s passed out in front of the door,” she says. “And everybody is scared and everybody is hiding.”
Investigators studied CCTV footage after which they released images of a suspect near one of the spas. Police said that, after a manhunt, Robert Aaron Long was arrested in Crisp County, about 150 miles (240km) south of Atlanta.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock in Cherokee County was photographed in a jail booking shot after he was taken into custody by the Crisp County Sheriff”s Office in Cordele, Georgia, U.S. on March 16, 2021.
References: New York Times, The Washington Post