Gunman hits multiple Atlanta massage parlors in horrific murder spree
Atlanta, Georgia - Eight people were killed during three different massage parlor shootings in the Atlanta-metro area on Tuesday.
Five people were shot by a gunman on Tuesday afternoon at Young's Asian Massage, about 30 miles north of Atlanta in Cherokee County.
Two died at the scene and another two in the hospital afterwards, police confirmed. The fifth victim wounded at the establishment has survived.
An hour later, law enforcement was called to Gold Massage Spa in downtown Atlanta after a robbery was reported to be taking place. Three women were killed by gunfire, the Guardian reported.
Then, police were called to a third fatal shooting directly across the street at Aromatherapy Spa.
Police have arrested 21-year-old Georgia resident Robert Aaron Long who is suspected of carrying out all three attacks.
Long was taken into custody at 8:30 PM about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Officials said video footage of his car and additional evidence have connected him to all three shooting locations.
A motive for the killings has not yet been released.
“Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement.
Six of the victims have been confirmed to be women of Asian descent, but it is not clear whether the crimes were racially motivated.
The US has seen a surge in violent attacks on Asian Americans since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stars reacted to the shootings on Twitter
Celebrities demand a national call to action
Police departments in Atlanta and New York City have now deployed more patrol officers to protect similar businesses in the cities' Asian communities.
Celebrities tweeted emotional responses to the incidents and called for action against anti-Asian discrimination.
#StopAsianHate was a trending Twitter hashtag on Tuesday night.
LeBron James offered his condolences to families of the victims.
"Coward a** young man!! Just senseless and tragic!!" he wrote of the gunman.
Padma Lakshmi blamed former president Donald Trump's anti-Asian Coronavirus rhetoric as a direct influence on the shooter.
"Enough is enough!" Mindy Kaling said on the normalizing of anti-Asian hate speech.
"Absolutely horrible," John Legend wrote. "Our nation needs to reckon with increased threats being directed at our Asian-American brothers and sisters."
"Please help us. We need to be safe in our country," said Vietnamese-American actor Olivia Munn.
Cover photo: IMAGO / Karo