Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested on Tuesday night after a three hour manhunt in Georgia
The self-confessed porn and sex addict was on way to Florida ‘to shoot more’ when cops rammed his Hyundai off road
He first opened fire at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, at 5pm, killed four people there then drove to Atlanta
He killed another three at The Gold Massge Spa and one person at the Aromatherapy Massge Spa opposite, before fleeing
Four of the victims have now been identified as Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49 and Daoyou Feng, 44
A ninth victim, Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz was injured but survived. a
At 8pm, three hours after the firsts shots were reported, Long was arrested on a road in Crisp County, 150 miles south of Atlanta
Once in custody, he confessed to the killings and said he had been at the three massage parlors before
Long a devout baptist, sho blamed his ‘sex addiction’ on the parlors and he wanted to remove ‘temptation’, was on his way to Florida where police say he planned to target more location when he was stopped
The ‘God-fearing’ gunman, 21, who killed eight people at three Georgia massage parlors on Tuesday targeted the locations because he’d visited them before and blamed them for his sex addiction, cops revealed on Wednesday morning.
Three shootings at spas and massage parlors around Atlanta left eight dead and one person injured, as police mounted a hunt for those responsible.
Among Robert Aaron Long’s eight victims, were six Asian women. All shot at massage parlors – The Gold Massage Spa and Aromatherapy massage Spa both in Alanta, and Young Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia during a one hour shooting spree on Tuesday.
Fleeing the crime scenes Long sped off bound for Florida to target more locations when police rammed his Hyundai off the road to take him into custody. He was arrested in Crisp County 150 miles south of Atlanta.
Robert Long has been charged with eight counts of murder and and one count of aggravated assault, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
On Wednesday, police said that contrary to initial reports, the attacks were not racially motivated but that after confessing to the killing, Long revealed he was addicted to sex and porn wanted to remove the temptation of the parlors.
At the news conference on Wednesday, investigators said the suspect admitted to the shootings, but denied that the attack was motivated by race.: “He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, adding that Mr Long was caught with a 9mm handgun and did not resist arrest.
Stopped on his way to Florida to carry out more attacks when he was caught. Police Wednesday said the Florida locations were somehow connected to pornography.
Massage parlours are known to sometimes provide prostitution services, but authorities say there is no indication yet that this is the case at the targeted locations.
“These are legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who added that the city would not engage in “victim shaming, victim blaming”.
They say he saw them as an ‘outlet’ for his sex addiction but they wouldn’t clarify if he had ever engaged in sex acts with any of the staff there.
Four of the victims have now been identified as Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49 and Daoyou Feng, 44. A ninth victim, Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz was injured but survived.
Capt. Baker said: “He claims that it was not racially motivated… he has an issue that he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places… it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.
“He was at the end of his rope and yesterday was a very bad day for him,” Capt. Baker said.
The suspect who told investigators that “he loved God and guns,” allegedly bought the assault weapon, a 9mm handgun, hours before the rampage.
Long is believed to have first opened fire at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, a city about 32 miles northwest of Atlanta, at 5pm. Four people were killed in that shooting.
Then, Long is accused of driving to Atlanta and opening fire in Gold Massage Spa, killing three women.
When police were there, they received reports of more shots across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where the eighth victim was found.
Long went on the run after the shootings and was eventually arrested after police rammed his Hyundai off the road. He was arrested some 150 miles southwest of Atlanta in Crisp County.
A classmate who attended high school with Long told The Daily Beast anonymously: ‘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.’
While the shooter may be claiming that the killings was not racially motivaated, but with six Asian women among the dead – four of them believed to be of Korean descent – the killing has already reignited anger over a surge in crime against Asian-Americans during the pandemic.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Atlanta on Friday to promote his America Rescue Plan as part of his sales pitch on COVID relief. The White House was briefed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray on the shootings later Wednesday morning.
Biden condemned the increased number of hate crimes against Asians in his primetime speech last week, saying they have been ‘attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated’ because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It’s wrong. It’s un-American, and it must stop,’ he said.
Many believe the racist attacks were fueled by President Donald Trump referring to COVID as the ‘China virus’ as it was first seen in Wuhan, China.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in South Korea meeting with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, mentioned the killings during an opening statement.
‘We are horrified by this violence which has no place in America or anywhere,’ he said, noting that four of the women were believed to be of Korean descent.
Newly emerging facts about Long include a 2018 video on his church’s website, where he said: ‘As many of you may remember, when I was 8 years old I thought I was becoming a Christian, and got baptized during that time.
‘And I remember a lot of the reason for that is a lot of my friends in my Sunday school class were doing that. And after that time, there wasn’t any fruit from the root that is our salvation.’
The church has taken its website offline. It said on Tuesday that elders would be releasing a statement on the attacks.
Georgia governor Brian Kemp said last night that ‘our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence’, while Sen. Raphael Warnock said that ‘my heart is broken after the tragic violence’ in Atlanta.
‘Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community,’ Warnock said.
Cops had initially responded to reports of a robbery in progress, but detectives believe nothing was stolen.
Two residents of the Atlanta neighborhood, Piedmont Heights, described the stretch where the shootings took place to the New York Times as the ‘red-light district’ of the local community.
After his car was seen pulling up to the Acworth parlor shortly before the shooting, police said footage showed the same vehicle in the area of the Atlanta spas about the time of those attacks as well.
That, as well as other video evidence, ‘suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County’s, who is in custody,’ Atlanta police said in a statement.
Long was taken into custody after a ‘brief pursuit’ about 150 miles from Atlanta in which state troopers caused the the suspect’s Hyundai to ‘spin out of control’ until Long was stopped and detained.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said diplomats in Atlanta have confirmed from police that four of the victims who died were women of Korean descent. A Korean consulate was working to confirm their nationality. Atlanta massage parlor shootings leave eight dead, one arrested
FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said the agency was assisting Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities in the investigation.
The shootings took place at spas where a majority of the employees are Asian, but it was not immediately clear whether the victims were staff, customers or bystanders.
Last week, President Joe Biden condemned what he called ‘vicious hate crimes’ committed against Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, calling such acts ‘un-American’ and demanding they stop.
‘Too often, we’ve turned against one another,’ Biden said in his first primetime address, detailing the progress made in the fight against Covid-19.
Biden decried ‘vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated’ over the pandemic, which originated in China.
‘At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans – they’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still, still they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,’ Biden said.
‘It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop.’
Within days of assuming office President signed an executive order on January 26 condemning racism towards the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community during the pandemic.
States are following suit, with California and New York allocating more resources to combating anti-Asian racism and draft legislation in the works in New York.
Racial motivation is hard to establish in many cases, but reportedly, anti-Asian hate crimes more than doubled from 49 to 122 last year across 16 major US cities including New York and Los Angeles, even as overall hate crime fell.
The report looked at events categorized as criminal in nature and showing evidence of ethnic or racial bias, using preliminary local police data.
It aligns with another study from the Stop AAPI Hate advocacy group showing more than 2,800 incidents of racism and discrimination – including non-physical forms – targeting Asian-Americans and reported online across the United States between March and December 2020.