US: 8 Dead in Shootings at 3 Spas in Atlanta Area, Suspect Held

About 150 miles from Atlanta, a 21-year-old white suspect, identified as Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, was nabbed.

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Representational image of a crime scene.

Eight people were shot dead at three spas in the Atlanta area of Georgia in the US on Tuesday, 17 March. It is believed that the crimes may have targeted people of Asian descent, since six of the women killed were Asian. The police also said in a news release that the shootings were “extremely likely” to be have been carried out by the same person.

About 150 miles south of Atlanta, a 21-year-old white suspect, identified as Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, was captured after a manhunt by the Atlanta Police and a subsequent car chase by a state trooper in Crisp Country on Tuesday.

Stop AAPI Hate, a hate-crime reporting centre that was formed in March 2020 in response to the rising bigotry against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic in the United States, referred to the shootings as, “an unspeakable tragedy”.

Shooting at Three Spas

  1. The first shooting took place at Young’s Asian Massage, where five people were shot at. Only one of them survived, said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, CNN reported. He added that the other two shootings occurred 30 miles from the first site.
  2. An hour later, at 5:47 pm, when the Atlanta Police thought they were responding to a robbery at Gold Spa, they ended up finding three dead women with gunshot wounds.
  3. Around the same time, the police received another report of shots fired at Aromatherapy Spa across the street, where another woman was found dead.

Stop AAPI Hate reported that there have been close to 3,800 reports of racist attacks and incidents targeting Asian-Americans across the country since the pandemic began.

Several police departments across the country have extended support and reached out to the Asian-American community. Some police departments have also deployed patrol units.

Citing the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, an official from the South Korean Consulate in Atlanta, confirmed on Wednesday that four of the eight killed were ethnic Koreans, The New York Times reported.

(With inputs from CNN and The New York Times)

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