At least eight people were killed Tuesday after shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area, authorities said. Four people were fatally shot at two spas in northeast Atlanta, and four people were killed at a Cherokee County spa, WSB-TV reported.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, Identified As Suspect in Woodstock, Cherokee County, Georgia Shooting
Long has been described as a quiet, religious person who loved guns and hunting.
The victims have not yet been identified.
Robert Aaron Long was identified as a suspect accused of shooting five people at a spa in Woodstock, Cherokee County, Georgia. Officials said he was also a suspect in two other shootings in nearby Atlanta. The three shootings left eight people dead. Six of the victims were Asian, and police are investigating whether the shootings were fueled by racist a motive.
Deputies alleged he entered a Young’s Asian Massage Parlor along Georgia Highway 92 and opened fire at about 5 p.m., shooting five people and killing four of them in Woodstock, an Atlanta suburb.
Officials alleged he then drove to nearby Atlanta and opened fire at two additional Asian spas, Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy, killing four more people. He was taken into custody in Crisp County following a police chase nearly 200 miles away. Deputies named the 21-year-old Woodstock man as the suspect at about 8:30 p.m. Minutes later, they announced he had been arrested.
Surveillance footage showed the suspect fleeing the scene of Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, which helped officials identify him as the suspect in the Atlanta shootings and spot his vehicle in Crisp County.
Here’s what you need to know (ACCORDING TO HEAVY.COM):
1. Long Is the Son of a Pastor & a Former Classmate Said ‘He Wouldn’t Even Cuss’ – Long was described as a religious person by a former classmate at Sequoyah High. 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. He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. 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.”
Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputies shared surveillance footage of the shooting suspect fleeing the scene. About three hours after the shooting, Long was arrested about 200 miles south of the scene in Crisp County, about a two-and-a-half hour drive from the scene.
2. Law Enforcement Officials Said Long Fled When They Attempted to Pull Him Over in Crisp County
Long was arrested following a police chase, law enforcement told WSBTV.
BREAKING Robert Aaron Long, the suspected gunman in the Cherokee County massage parlor shooting has been caught following a chase in Crisp County. Also, death toll now at four in Cherokee,” Chris Jose of WSB wrote on Twitter.
Pursuing police officers used a PIT maneuver, or pursuit-intervention tactic, to stop Long’s vehicle, Zac Summers of CBS 46 wrote on Twitter.
3. Officials Said Long Opened Fire at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor Near Acworth
herokee County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the shooting scene at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor to find three people dead and two others injured. One of those injured people died later at the hospital, Jay Baker of the sheriff’s office told 11 Alive News. The victims’ names have not been released. Two of them were Asian women, one was a White woman and one was a White man, Baker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The fifth victim, who was taken to the hospital, was a Hispanic man. Officials did not immediately release an update on his condition.
Baker said Cherokee County had only one homicide in all of 2020. He called the mass shooting “shocking.”
“In 2020, we had one homicide in Cherokee County, so, we’ve had three today, so it’s pretty shocking not only to our responding deputies and public safety, but also to the community here. And we take this very serious,” Baker said.
4. Two Additional Shootings Were Reported in Northeast Atlanta Shortly After the Cherokee County Shooting
The Atlanta Police Department worked with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to determine two shootings at spas in northeast Atlanta were related to the Cherokee County shooting. The two shootings in northeast Atlanta left four people dead. They occurred at about 6 p.m. at two businesses, Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa, which are across the street from each other in the 1900 block of Piedmont Road.
All four victims were Asian females, Atlanta Police Department spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said in a press conference. Their identities have not been released. There were no additional victims who were shot, he said.
5. Atlanta Reporters Questioned Whether Racism Due to COVID-19 Was a Motive Behind the Shootings & The NYPD Increased Patrol in Asian Communities
Reporters at a press conference with the Atlanta Police Department asked whether racism due to the coronavirus may have been the motive behind the shootings. Police said it was too early to pinpoint a motive, but confirmed all four victims were Asian females. Two of the five victims in Cherokee County were Asian females.