Robert Aaron Lengthy, 21, is in custody in relation to the shootings in Cherokee County, Georgia and the 2 others in Atlanta.
Lengthy claimed accountability for the capturing in Cherokee County, the place he faces 4 counts of homicide and a cost of aggravated assault, in line with the county sheriff’s workplace. He additionally has been charged with extra 4 counts of homicide, Atlanta Police Division stated.
The suspect advised police he believed he had a intercourse habit and that he noticed the spas as “a temptation … that he wished to remove,” Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker stated.
However Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant stated it’s nonetheless too early to know a motive, and Cherokee County District Lawyer Shannon Wallace stated the investigation is ongoing and acceptable costs can be introduced.
When requested if Lengthy might face hate crime costs, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds stated all the pieces remains to be below investigation and that they may permit the proof to make them a logical conclusion.
Whereas FBI Director Christopher Wray stated the assaults do not seem like racially motivated, advocacy teams have argued that it’s too quickly to make that dedication. And shootings do not should be racially motivated to represent a hate crime in Georgia.
If Lengthy was focusing on ladies out of hatred for them or scapegoating them for his personal issues, it might probably be a hate crime.
The communities and the nation grapple with concern and grief
Flowers have lined the companies that have been the scenes of devastating violence, however as elevated hate impacts Asians and Asian People, the emotional toll has been felt throughout the nation.
“Such vicious, unconscionable acts of violence reduce on the very core of our nation and the values on which it was based,” former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated Thursday. “As we await the findings of an intensive investigation, the vital work to fight the haunting rise of hatred towards the AAPI group should intensify with the immediacy this newest tragedy instructions.”
Throughout a vigil exterior of Younger’s Asian Spa on Thursday, Sheriff Reynolds advised reporters he got here to the candlelight vigil to let the Asian American group know that “we’ve them in our hearts and our prayers and we’re so sorry for the lack of life.”
A vigil was additionally held exterior of Gold Spa in Atlanta.
President Joe Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Thursday to honor the victims. Biden additionally plans to go to Atlanta on Friday to fulfill with Mayor Bottoms, in addition to Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders, in line with Georgia State Rep. Bee Nguyen.
Among the many points they may convey up is the priority that the shootings be “taken significantly” and significantly thought-about as a hate crime towards Asians and never dismissed because the suspect having a “unhealthy day,” Nguyen stated.
“Our hearts exit to the family members of these we misplaced and our nation mourns with you,” he stated.
What we all know concerning the victims
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44, have been all fatally shot at Youngs Asian Therapeutic massage in Cherokee County.
Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, was additionally shot on the spa however survived.
Three extra victims have been discovered useless at Gold Therapeutic massage Spa in Atlanta, and one other sufferer was discovered useless throughout the road on the Aroma Remedy Spa.
The names of these 4 victims haven’t but been launched by authorities.
Three of the victims have been 52, 75 and 64 years of age, in line with start years listed in an Atlanta police incident report.
“We want to ensure we’ve a real verification of their identities and that we make the right subsequent of kin notification,” Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Charles Hampton Jr. stated Wednesday.
How the assaults unfolded
Shortly earlier than 5 p.m. Tuesday, deputies have been referred to as to Youngs Asian Therapeutic massage, which is situated between the Georgia cities of Woodstock and Acworth after experiences of a capturing, Cherokee County sheriff’s officers stated.
That capturing left 4 folks useless and one particular person injured, Capt. Baker stated.
About an hour later and 30 miles away, Atlanta police responded to the Gold Therapeutic massage Spa on Piedmont Street in Atlanta. Police stated they discovered three folks useless.
Whereas there, police obtained one other name of pictures fired throughout the road on the Aroma Remedy Spa, the place they discovered one particular person useless, Bryant stated.
Investigators discovered surveillance video of a suspect close to the Cherokee County scene and revealed pictures on social media.
“(The relations) are very distraught, and so they have been very useful on this apprehension,” Reynolds stated.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Gisela Crespo, Amanda Watts, Stephen Collinson, Audrey Ash, Casey Tolan, Nicquel Ellis, Nicole Chavez, Artemis Moshtaghian, Raja Razek, Jamiel Lynch and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.