Tuesday saw brutal killing of eight people at three metro Atlanta massage parlors. The prime suspect behind the attack on all 8 has been arrested. The police said that the arrest happened 150 miles away after a dramatic car chase.
The horrifying attacks — which happened within an hour – took place at two parlors in northeast Atlanta and one almost 30 miles northwest of the city in Cherokee County. Four of the victims were described as of Korean background by South Korean officials.
Police considers a 21-year-old suspect taken into custody Tuesday night was likely accountable for the three attacks.
The victims have not yet been identified by the officials as they work to notify next of kin.
However, the South Korean foreign ministry in a statement on Wednesday described four of the victims as of Korean ethnicity and mentioned that it is working to confirm their nationality and to lend the required support.
Previously, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant remarked that the four victims within the city were female and seemed to be Asian.
While there are many questions remaining in the case, authorities are trying to look for the motive behind the shootings. But the details of how the horror spread-out are becoming clearer.
How the shootings took place
While the killing spread across 30 miles, they took place in quick sequence.
Somewhere around 5 p.m. Tuesday, deputies were called to Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, Georgia, reporting of a shooting, Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesperson Jay Baker said.
Answering deputies found five people with gunshot wounds. Two were declared dead at the scene and three were taken to a hospital, where two died.
After an hour later and 30 miles away, Atlanta police answered to what was termed as a theft at the Gold Massage Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. Police mention that they found three people dead.
While police was still there, it received another call of shots-fired in the street at the Aroma Therapy Spa, where they saw one person dead.
Authorities in the area, called as Atlanta’s Zone 2, said they are increasing patrols around like businesses, and FBI spokesperson Kevin Rowson mentioned that the agency is assisting with the investigations.
About the suspect
Around 8:30 p.m., the highway patrol which is about 150 miles south of the city was informed that a suspect in the Cherokee County shooting was directing its way. When the suspect’s vehicle was identified, a chase arose on Interstate 75 and a state trooper executed an opertaion that lent the SUV out of control.
“The suspect was taken into custody without incident … and transported to the Crisp County jail,” the official remarked.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office recognized him as Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock.
Police believe Long is also accountable for the killing in Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department mentioned in a news release.
“Video footage from our Video Integration Center places the Cherokee County suspect’s vehicle in the area, around the time of our Piedmont Road shootings,” the Atlanta Police Department mentioned in a news release. “That, along with video evidence viewed by investigators, suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County’s, who is in custody. Because of this, an investigator from APD is in Cherokee County and we are working closely with them to confirm with certainty our cases are related.”
Police have so far not provided any motive for the shootings.
But in a statement on Tuesday, the Stop AAPI Hate organization mentioned that the incident shows that more needs to be done to protect Asian Americans.
“The reported shootings of multiple Asian American women today in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the Asian American community, which has been reeling from high levels of racist attacks over the course of the past year,” it said. “This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian American community continues to endure.”