Robert Aaron Long sex addiction cited as reason behind Atlanta massage parlor shootings that killed eight, injured three, with the Woodstock, Georgia man denying being motivated anti Asian racism or hate crime.
A 21-year-old Georgia man accused shooting and killing eight people and injuring three others at three different Atlanta massage parlors mostly staffed by Asian workers has denied being motivated by racism, instead telling police that he had an ‘addiction to sex.’
Robert Aaron Long told officers the parlors were a ‘temptation he wanted to eliminate.’
‘It may be the targets of opportunity,’ Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said during a press conference Wednesday. ‘We believe he frequented these places in the past and may have been lashing out.’
Long, the son of a youth pastor, was captured around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday about 150 miles south of Atlanta after leading police on a high-speed chase.
Officials said that Long’s family recognized him from surveillance footage and helped identify him. Police were then able to trace Long’s phone and track his location.
Bought murder weapon hours before rampage
A 9 mm handgun was found in Long’s car during his arrest, police said.
Long bought the gun from a local shop just hours before the first shooting, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said investigators believe that Long was headed to Florida to carry out more shootings before he was captured.
Two Asian women, a white woman and a white man were fatally shot at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor around 5 p.m. Tuesday, then four more Asian women at two more spas in northeast Atlanta.
Four of eight fatal victims i’d
Four of the victims were identified by AJC as Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44. Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was identified as having been injured.
Massage parlors are known to sometimes provide prostitution services, but authorities say there is no indication yet that this is the case at the targeted locations.
‘These are legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar,’ said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who added that the city would not engage in ‘victim shaming, victim blaming’.
Mounting anti Asian hate crime
‘During his interview, he gave no indicators that this was racially motivated,’ Reynolds said during the press conference. ‘We asked him that specifically and the answer was no.’
Officials said Long appeared to be working alone and there was no active threat to the community.
While police have played down the racial bias, Asian groups have called attention to growing attacks against their communities.
‘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,’ Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that aims to raise awareness of anti-Asian discrimination, said in a statement Tuesday.
‘There is a great deal of fear and pain in the Asian American community that must be addressed.’