According to an Associated Press report, shootings at two massage parlors in Atlanta and one in the suburbs Tuesday night killed eight, many of them women of Asian descent, authorities said.
The attacks began around 5 p.m., when five people were shot at the Youngs Asian massage parlor in a strip mall near a rural area in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, according to a Sheriff’s Office spokesman. of Cherokee County. Two people died at the scene and three were taken to a hospital where two of them also died.
Around 5:50 p.m., Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood police, responding to a call for an ongoing robbery, found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa. While at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shooting at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman who appeared to have been shot and killed inside the business.
The killings came amid a recent wave of attacks on Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.
“Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrible acts of violence,” the governor said. Brian Kemp said Tuesday night on Twitter.
A man suspected of the Acworth shooting was caught on surveillance video that made his way to the business around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, minutes before the attack, authorities said. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, 21, was taken into custody in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
Police said they believe Long is also the suspect in the Atlanta shootings. FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said the agency would assist Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities in the investigation and determine whether or not the murders would be classified as hate crimes.