A suspect is in custody after eight people were killed and one person was injured in three separate shooting incidents at different massage parlors in the Atlanta metropolitan area on Tuesday evening.
Of note: Georgia law enforcement officials said all victims except for one were women, and six were of Asian descent — raising concerns that the attacks were racially motivated, per the New York Times.
What we know: The Cherokee County Sheriff’s office said Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white man from Woodstock, Georgia, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with murder. The FBI is assisting Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities in the investigation.
- The attacks began about 5pm at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor, some 30 miles north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said. Two people died at the scene and three were taken to the hospital, where two of them died.
- About 50 minutes later, police responding to reports of a robbery found three people dead at Gold Spa in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.
- While there, they received reports of shots fired at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street. When they arrived, they found the body of a woman with gunshot wounds.
- The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that video footage indicates “it is extremely likely” that the same person was responsible for all three shootings.
- Reporting center Stop AAPI Hate said in a statement while it was not immediately clear whether the Georgia shootings were motivated by hate, there’s “a great deal of fear and pain in the Asian American community … which has been reeling from high levels of racial discrimination.”
- The group published a report earlier Tuesday showing racism-fueled violence against Asian Americans has continued to spike, with women more than twice as likely to be targeted than men.
What they’re saying: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) tweeted, “My heart is broken tonight after the tragic violence in Atlanta that took eight lives. Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community.”
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Editor’s note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.
Source: Axios Breaking News