What happened in Atlanta?
Three shootings took place Tuesday evening at three separate spas—the first in Acworth, Ga., north of Atlanta, and the others across the street from each other within the city. The shootings happened within about an hour of each other.
What do we know about the victims?
Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, officials said. At least four of those killed were of Korean descent, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.
The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday released the names of the victims in the Acworth shooting. Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Yan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were killed in the shooting. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was injured. Names of the other victims haven’t been released.
The ethnicity of many of the victims had prompted concern that the shootings could be a hate crime against Asian-Americans. After the shooting, law-enforcement officers in New York, Seattle and Atlanta said they were closely monitoring Asian-American communities as a precaution. Reports of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans have increased in some U.S. cities since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was first identified in China.
Who is the suspect Robert Long?
A 21-year-old Georgia man was arrested late Tuesday in connection with the killing of eight people, many of them women of Asian descent.
Robert Aaron Long,
of Woodstock, Ga., was captured that evening in Crisp County, 150 miles southeast of Atlanta, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.
Mr. Long has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, officials said. He is being held in Cherokee County without bond. He waived his right to an attorney, officials said.
With the help of state highway patrol, officers said they were able to track Mr. Long as he drove south on I-75.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
said Wednesday that Mr. Long was en route to Florida, and she thanked law-enforcement officers for their quick work arresting him. “This could’ve been significantly worse,” she said. “It is very likely there would’ve been more victims.”
Officials said they found a 9-millimeter gun in Mr. Long’s car and are running forensic tests to determine whether it was used in the shootings. It was the only weapon they said they found.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s office shared on social media some surveillance-video images from the scene, and Mr. Long’s family immediately called in, Sheriff Frank Reynolds said, noting the family has continued to cooperate with investigators.
What do we know about the investigation?
Law-enforcement officials said Wednesday that Mr. Long acted alone and took responsibility for the killings.
Mr. Long targeted the businesses in retaliation “for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex,” law-enforcement officials said. Representatives for the establishments couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
Atlanta Deputy Police Chief
Charles Hampton Jr.
said Thursday that investigators in the city were still considering all options, including whether this was a hate crime. “Nothing is off the table,” Mr. Hampton said, in a briefing.
Cherokee County, which is also investigating, said Wednesday that Mr. Long told investigators that “it was not racially motivated,” said Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta said it is assisting local law enforcement in the investigation.
“We are still playing an assistance role with the local investigations. If, in the course of the local investigations, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate,” said Kevin Rowson, a spokesman for the FBI’s Atlanta field office.
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Source: WSJ – US News