A series of shootings across three Atlanta-area spas have left a total of eight people dead, including six Asian women, on Tuesday (March 16). Police have their chief suspect behind bars, and many are wondering if this heinous act is a hate crime targeting Asian Americans.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested by police Tuesday night after a manhunt was launched in the wake of the shooting, which took place across three locations. Long’s shooting spree took place in over 45 minutes, leading to early speculation that this was a calculated act of terror.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that Long was arrested as the suspect in connection to the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County which left four dead and one person injured. The outlet adds that Long is also the chief suspect in two other spa or massage parlor shootings in Northeast Atlanta, and Long was eventually arrested 150 miles south of Atlanta in Crisp County on I-75 after a state trooper intervened.
The names of the victims have not been released, which include the injured. According to still developing reports, it appears that Long burst into each of the three businesses across two Metro Atlanta counties and carried out the shootings. Police confirmed that Long was recognized in each of the incidents via surveillance cameras.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a statement and praised police efforts in arresting Long promptly.
“I commend law enforcement for their quick work in arresting a suspect in the tragic shootings on yesterday,” Bottoms said in a statement. “A motive is still not clear, but a crime against any community is a crime against us all. I have remained in close contact with the White House and APD as they work with federal, state and local partners to investigate the suspect who is responsible for this senseless violence in our city.”
Condolences to the families of the victims.
Photo: Crisp County Sheriff’s Office