Robert Aaron Long Woodstock Georgia man arrested in mass shootings of three massage parlors that killed eight people. Motivated by anti Asian hate rhetoric?
A Georgia man is suspected of fatally gunning down eight people along with injuring 3 others in three mass shootings at massage parlors, primarily staffed by Asian women in Atlanta and a nearby suburb on Tuesday evening according to reports.
Authorities believe Long opened fire on five people shortly before 5 p.m. at ‘Young’s Asian Massage Parlor’ near Acworth in Georgia’s Cherokee County, officials said. Four of the victims of that shooting died, according to local sheriffs.
Less than an hour later, four more people were killed in shootings at two other massage parlors on Piedmont Road in Atlanta, Atlanta Police said.
At ‘Gold Spa’, police found three women shot dead, before being called to another shooting across the street at ‘Aromatherapy Spa,’ that left one woman killed, according to Atlanta cops.
Innocent nerdy religious person
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said it is believed Long is also the suspect in the Atlanta shooting. Atlanta Police have not yet confirmed the connection WSB-TV reported.
All four victims of the Atlanta shootings appeared to be Asian women, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said during a Tuesday night press conference.
Of note, a former classmate at Sequoyah High, described Long as a religious person. The 21-year-old graduated in 2017. His dad was a pastor, and Long seemed ‘innocent’ and ‘nerdy,’ the classmate told The Daily Beast.
‘He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss,’ the classmate said. ‘He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.’
Anti Asian hate rhetoric?
When asked whether the violence may be connected to the nationwide rash of anti-Asian hate crimes, Atlanta Police Chief Bryant said investigators are still speaking to witnesses and it was too early to speculate on any motives.
‘We’re in the very early stages of this so we can’t make that determination just yet,’ Bryant said.
There were more than 2,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes throughout the country last year, amid the coronavirus pandemic according to data released last month by Stop AAPI Hate national coalition.
‘…attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated’
Of disconcert, hate crimes against Asian Americans in major U.S. cities surged by nearly 150 percent in 2020 — even as the number of overall hate crimes fell.
Violence and incitement against Asians seemingly followed increasing antagonistic rhetoric that found staunch vocal support from former President Donald Trump who described the pandemic as the ‘Chinese virus.’
Since coming into office, Democratic president, Joe Biden decried ‘vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated’ over the pandemic, which is thought to have originated in China.
‘At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans — they’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still, still they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,’ Biden said.
‘It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop.’
Welcome to a brave divided America….