Suspect Denies Race Was Inspiration In Atlanta Health Club Attacks

A 21-year-old gunman with a “sex dependency” has actually taken obligation for killing eight people in medspas around the US city of Atlanta, but denied a racial motive to the attacks that shook the nation’s Asian community, cops said Wednesday.

Six of the victims of Tuesday night’s killings were of Asian origin, worsening issues over a surge in violence targeting the community throughout the pandemic.

Authorities however worried they had actually not identified the intention of the shooter, determined as Robert Aaron Long, a white male who is believed to have actually acted alone.

” The suspect did take responsibility for the shootings,” Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Constable’s Office told a press conference.

Police cars block the area of a shooting at a medical spa in an Atlanta residential area Cherokee Sheriffâ $ s Office/ –

” This is still early, but he does claim it was not racially encouraged,” the officer included.

” He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as … a temptation for him that he wanted to remove.”

Authorities jailed Long after tracking his phone following a quick pursuit about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Atlanta, officials said.

After he was detained, “he made a remark … that he was headed to Florida which he was going to do comparable acts in that state,” Baker stated.

Police personnel leave a massage parlor where a person was shot and killed on March 16, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia AFP/ Elijah Nouvelage

Adriana Mejia, niece of among the victims, stated the family was “ravaged” after her uncle was shot and that they were wishing his recovery.

” We never understand when we’re at the incorrect location at the wrong time due to the fact that this was so suddenly,” she stated.

Police vehicles obstruct the location of a shooting at a day spa in an Atlanta suburban area Cherokee Sheriffâ $ s Workplace/ –

Vice President Kamala Harris stated that while the intention stayed unclear, the most recent mass shootings spoke “to a larger concern which is violence in our nation.”

” I do want to state to our Asian-American neighborhood that we stand with you and understand how this has scared and surprised and outraged all individuals,” Harris stated.

4 of the victims were killed at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, an Atlanta residential area.

Authorities individually verified that four women had been eliminated in attacks on 2 other health clubs in the northeast of the city.

Map of the US state of Georgia locating Hall County where a liquid nitrogen leak at a food-processing plant killed a minimum of 6 individuals on Thursday. AFP/ Laurence CHU

Cherokee County Constable Frank Reynolds said the typically peaceful commuter residential area had experienced couple of murders and Tuesday’s violence was “a shock to all of us”.

Cops informed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that all 4 were Asian ladies.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Company reported the nation’s foreign ministry had actually verified that four of the victims were of Korean descent.

The shootings come as reports of attacks versus Asian-Americans, mainly senior citizens, have increased in recent months– fueled during the Covid-19 pandemic, activists think, by talk of the “Chinese infection” by previous president Donald Trump and others.

Former president Barack Obama said on Twitter that while the shooter’s motive was not yet clear, “the identity of the victims highlights a disconcerting rise in anti-Asian violence that must end.”

News of the shootings came just hours after the release of a report by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate recommended a marked boost in hate crimes versus Asia-Americans– with females disproportionately affected.

In a tally of events reported to the group in between March 2020 and February this year, practically 70 percent of Asian-American survey respondents said they had actually dealt with verbal harassment and just over one in 10 stated they had actually experienced physical assault.

The state of Georgia, which has Atlanta as its capital, is home to nearly 500,000 people of Asian origin, or just over 4 percent of its population, according to the Asian American Advocacy Fund.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock condemned the violence in a tweet late Tuesday.

” My heart is broken tonight after the awful violence in Atlanta that took eight lives,” he stated.

” Wishing the families of the victims and for peace for the community.”

The Democratic celebration in the state called Tuesday’s shooting spree “terrible.”.

” As details continue to emerge, this attack sadly follows the inappropriate pattern of violence versus Asian Americans that has skyrocketed throughout this pandemic,” stated Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who is also the state party’s chairwoman.

In an address to the nation last Thursday, President Joe Biden powerfully condemned what he called “vicious hate crimes versus Asian-Americans who have actually been attacked, bothered, blamed and scapegoated.”.

” It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it should stop,” he said.

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