On March 16, a 21-year-old man from Woodstock, Georgia, identified as Robert Aaron Long, has been arrested for allegedly gunning down eight people in three mass shootings at massage parlours in Atlanta and Cherokee county. As per reports, these parlours were primarily staffed by Asian women in Atlanta and a nearby suburb. Long was arrested by the police on Tuesday night, 240 KM south of Atlanta after an officer initiated a statewide manhunt.
Long allegedly killed 8 people in three shootings
According to the authorities, Long first opened fire on five people in Young’s Asian Massage Parlor near Acworth in Georgia’s Cherokee County at around 5 PM. The local sheriff’s office said in a statement that four of the victims died.
Atlanta shootings: Four women dead after gunfire at two spas with suspect on the run— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) March 16, 2021
Officers in the Georgia state capital that they are searching for the alleged shooter who drove away in a black Hyundai SUV
Local police released this image of a suspect in the alleged shooting pic.twitter.com/LNF2jkaGGJ
In less than an hour, he opened fire at two other massage parlours on Piedmont Road in Atlanta, killing four more people. According to the city police, they found three women shot dead inside Gold Spa. While checking the premises, they were called to another shooting across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where one woman was killed.
Long was spotted by police driving a black SUV
According to the reports, police found surveillance video near the shooting spot in which the suspect was captured around 4:50 PM, minutes before the shooting. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office released a photo of the suspect on Facebook Tuesday evening.
At around 8 PM, deputies in Crisp Country received information from Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds that Long was spotted by the Georgia State Patrol troopers and Crisp Country deputies travelling south driving a black SUV. A GSP trooper performed a PIT manoeuvre to stop him in Crisp Country, around 240 KM south of Atlanta. He was arrested and transported to the Crisp County Detention Center.
Police refused to confirm if the incident was racially motivated
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant was asked if the violence is connected to the nationwide anti-Asian hate crimes to which he said that that the investigation is at the initial stage. It was too early to speculate anything. “We’re in the very early stages of this, so we can’t make that determination just yet,” he said.
In a tweet, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp said, “We deeply appreciate the quick apprehension of a suspect by @ga_dps in coordination with local and federal law enforcement.”
Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence.— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) March 17, 2021
We deeply appreciate the quick apprehension of a suspect by @ga_dps in coordination with local and federal law enforcement. https://t.co/9Rtv3g0NUG
Over 2,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes
As per the data released by Stop AAPI Hate national coalition, there were over 2,800 incidents of hate crimes against Asians in 2020. The attacks on Asians spiked throughout the country in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.