ATLANTA — More particulars emerged Friday concerning the eight victims who have been shot at three therapeutic massage parlors in Georgia, together with new information concerning the suspect within the string of assaults that left largely ladies of Asian descent lifeless.
The 4 victims who have been killed at two spas in Atlanta have been recognized Friday by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office: Soon C. Park, 74; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong A. Yue, 63.
Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Charles Hampton Jr. mentioned they nonetheless want to find out the motive, however that it was too quickly to say whether or not the suspect “specifically targeted” victims. Authorities mentioned Wednesday that Robert Aaron Long, 21, indicated he dedicated the shootings due to a intercourse dependancy, however experts say it’s hard to disentangle race from the killings. Long waived his proper to an preliminary courtroom look in Cherokee County on Thursday.
In data launched to USA TODAY, police say a caller reported Long had been kicked out of his mother or father’s house the day earlier than the capturing and was “emotional.” The report additionally says Long was just lately furloughed from his job at a commerce present enterprise as a result of COVID-19.
Authorities say the suspect opened hearth at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth on Tuesday night, killing 4 individuals and injuring a fifth, earlier than driving 30 miles into Atlanta and killing 4 extra individuals at two companies, Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. Long was arrested about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Police mentioned he was heading to Florida and supposed to hold out extra shootings as spas there.
The shootings got here amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States. Witnesses have only started to come to terms with the horror they skilled on the spas.
First Asian American state Senator in Georgia on anti-Asian violence:‘This is a problem that’s taking place all across the country’
More particulars on the most recent information within the Atlanta spa shootings:
►President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Georgia state legislators and Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates to hearken to their views on the rise in hate incidents concentrating on Asian Americans. Earlier, Biden urged Congress to move the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, saying the invoice “would would expedite the federal government’s response to the rise of hate crimes exacerbated during the pandemic.”
►House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., mentioned Friday the House would maintain a second of silence in honor of the victims and the “assault on the AAPI community.” “Long before Atlanta, we have known that this has been a challenge, really exacerbated by some of the language of the previous administration,” she mentioned.
►FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned in an interview with NPR that the investigation into the shootings was ongoing, however “at the moment it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated.” “It’s a heartbreaking incident,” Wray added. “And it hits particularly close to home for me since I consider Atlanta home.”
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- Suspect’s church disowns him after killings
- Roommate says suspect feared harming self, would ask for prayers
- Biden on discrimination: ‘Our silence is complicity’
- Suspect was kicked out of fogeys’ home evening earlier than assault, report says
- Atlanta sufferer’s son: ‘This is one thing that ought to by no means occur to anybody’
- I’m ‘afraid to go away my home’: Asian ladies reside in concern
- He was getting a again therapeutic massage. Then the shooter walked in.
- Suspect ‘frequented’ Atlanta spas; authorities still investigating motive
- ‘She did everything for me’: Family remember shooting victim
- Among the victims: A mom of two and an Army veteran
- ‘They shot me, come assist me please’: Lone survivor hospitalized
- Historic congressional listening to on Asian discrimination turns emotional
- What to do in case you are a witness to anti-Asian racism
The church attended by Robert Aaron Long, the suspect charged within the eight killings, condemned the assaults and mentioned it plans to take away the 21-year-old from its membership as a result of it “can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”
Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, mentioned congregants have been “distraught” once they realized the alleged shooter was a member of the group, an announcement from the church mentioned. His household has belonged to the church for a few years.
“We watched Aaron grow up and accepted him into church membership when he made his own profession of faith in Jesus Christ,” the assertion reads. “These unthinkable and egregious murders directly contradict his own confession of faith in Jesus and the gospel.”
Footage from earlier sermons which have since been deleted from online postings present Long attending companies and taking part in percussion throughout a service. It additionally reveals him in attendance for a September 2020 sermon, the place pastor Jerry Dockery mentioned, “Radical feminism has engulfed our tradition like a tsunami” and that “We’re propagating what Satan wants to accomplish.”
Footage of the sermon, obtained by Storyful, shows Dockery speaking about gender roles, that the role of men was to “lead” and the role of women, in scripture, was to be submissive, quiet and not “exercise authority over a man.” He argued God has always been for equality and women should be partners and equals but that non-traditional roles were linked to Satan.
Tyler Bayless, who lived with Long at an addiction recovery facility in Roswell, Georgia, for at least six months through early 2020, described him as “a little bit socially awkward but not standoffish or quiet.” Long requested that he pray for him at the least a few instances, Bayless mentioned, however by no means imposed his beliefs on others.
“He had some interesting religious beliefs, I’m sure, but he was never very overtly pushy about that sort of thing. Like he was never like, ‘I’ve got to save your soul,’” Bayless mentioned.
Bayless recalled a number of events when Long mentioned he lapsed and went to a therapeutic massage enterprise, prompting excessive self-loathing, guilt and public confession that he feared he would possibly hurt himself. Long as soon as requested him to carry on to a searching knife, Bayless added.
“He said, ‘You know, I went to one of these places. I feel like I’m falling out of God’s grace,’” Bayless mentioned.
“I mean, this was the kind of pain that he was in because of what his religious beliefs led him to think about the acts that he was engaging in.”
Bayless additionally mentioned Long tried to restrict his social media use to keep away from what he noticed as sources of temptation to sin.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday condemned racism against Asian Americans, days after a capturing deaths of six Asian American ladies within the Atlanta space. The act of violence has rocked Asian American communities, in Georgia and throughout the nation, already annoyed with an absence of motion on a surge of pandemic-related discrimination.
Biden and Harris, the primary Asian American vice chairman, met with Georgia state legislators and Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates to hearken to their views on the rise in hate incidents concentrating on Asian Americans.
‘Our silence is complicity’: Biden, Harris meet with Asian American advocates after Atlanta killings
“The conversation we had today with the AAPI leaders, and that we’re hearing all across the country is that hate and violence often hide in plain sight,” Biden mentioned throughout remarks after the listening session. It’s usually met with silence … however that has to alter. Because our silence is complicity. We can’t be complicit.”
Harris, who launched Biden, famous that “whatever the killer’s motive,” the capturing “took place as violent hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans has risen dramatically over the last year.”
“Racism is real in America. And it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too,” she mentioned.
Without naming former President Donald Trump, who usually used racist language to explain COVID-19, Harris famous that “for the last year we’ve had people in positions of incredible power, scapegoating Asian Americans; people with the biggest pulpits, spreading this kind of hate.”
Records from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office present a glimpse into suspect Robert Aaron Long’s life earlier than the string of assaults that left eight individuals lifeless, together with that the suspect had been furloughed from work and had been kicked out of his mother or father’s home.
The reviews chronicle calls to the Sheriff’s Office after the primary capturing at Young’s Asian Massage earlier than Long is accused of driving to Atlanta, the place police say he killed 4 others at two different therapeutic massage parlors.
After the Sheriff’s Office launched surveillance footage of the suspect, his household contacted the authorities, instructed them the suspect was their son and mentioned they’ve a “tracker on his phone.” Police used the monitoring, by Long’s household, to in the end arrest him after the trio of shootings.
Soon after the decision, authorities have been alerted by one other caller, who wasn’t named within the report, that Long lives together with his dad and mom and had been “kicked out of his parents house last night.” The report notes that Long was “emotional.”
Later as extra calls poured in, two former coworkers known as to report Long because the doable suspect. One of the callers mentioned Long had been just lately furloughed from his job at a commerce present firm as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
In a GoFundMe page, Randy Park, who recognized Grant as his mom, mentioned the capturing has “put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world.”
Park mentioned his mom, whose maiden title was Kim, was a single mother elevating two sons within the U.S. whereas the remainder of his household is in South Korea. “She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today,” Park wrote.
Park instructed the Daily Beast that his mom cherished “dancing and partying.” “She would always try to convince me to go out. She loved going to clubs. She loved Tiesto. She was like a teenager,” he instructed the outlet.
Jennifer Chung, a Korean American dwelling in Atlanta, mentioned she felt “numb” when she heard the information. At least 4 of the victims have been ladies of Korean descent.
“There’s just been so much going on within our community all over, not just the U.S. but even the world,” she mentioned. “It’s kinda morbid, but you’re thinking it was just a matter of time for it to happen down the street from you.”
Many Asian ladies reside in concern and have been lengthy earlier than the shootings Tuesday evening that confirmed America the brutality of anti-Asian violence.
Experts say witnessing violence – or personally experiencing violence or harassment – can result in trauma, which might trigger a variety of debilitating psychological and bodily well being results. For Asian ladies, the trauma is advanced as it’s usually layered with racism, sexism and hyper-sexualization. Read more here.
– Sara M. Moniuszko
Marcus Lyon heard the primary gunshot and bolted upright on the therapeutic massage desk. The lady who had simply began massaging his neck checked out him and walked throughout the small room to open the hallway door. She dropped to the ground, blood pouring from her head.
Lyon jumped into his pants and raced out the door to his automobile parked outdoors Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, grabbing his personal pistol, able to struggle off the shooter. The gunman was gone, and Lyon known as 911. “I said you all need to come, people are dead.”
Lyon, a supply driver, recounted the horrific moments a gunman who killed 4 individuals and injured one different contained in the spa north of Atlanta began capturing.
“The whole time I was on the floor, I thought I was going to die,” he said. “I’m just thankful I’m alive.”
– Trevor Hughes
Atlanta police confirmed Thursday that the suspect had been to the two spa locations in the city that he’s accused of targeting.
“I can say that he had frequented each of these areas,” deputy police Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said of Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa, the two spas that became crime scenes Tuesday.
Hampton said authorities are still investigating the motive and added he couldn’t say whether Long “particularly focused” victims at those locations.
Visual timeline:Here’s what happened at Atlanta spa shootings
Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds previously said that Long indicated he may have frequented some of the businesses and said he had a sex addiction.
While some have been critical of police for not immediately saying the shootings were a hate crime, Hampton said Thursday, “Our investigation is taking a look at all the things, so nothing is off the desk.”
The day before Xiaojie “Emily” Tan would have celebrated her many accomplishments — making a life in the United States, building a family, launching two businesses — a gunman broke into her business and opened fire. Tan is listed as the owner of a limited liability corporation associated with Young’s Asian Massage and another spa.
Instead, Jami Webb, 29, and her father, Michael Webb, 64, spent Tan’s birthday planning her funeral at a Catholic church.
“She did everything for me and for the family. She provided everything. She worked every day, 12 hours a day, so that me and our family would have a better life,” Jami Webb said of her mother.
Tan’s family, friends and customers described a curious, hard-working and caring woman who was always filled with joy.
Some called her by her Chinese name Xiaojie, or Jay for short. Others, knew her by her American name, Emily.
“She was filled with smiles and laughter. She was only a pleasure to be round,” mentioned Michael Webb, an American businessman who first met Tan whereas touring for work in China within the early 2000s.
– Trevor Hughes and Romina Ruiz
Delaina Ashley Yaun leaves behind a 13-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter.
Her mom, Margaret Rushing, instructed WAGA-TV, that her daughter and son-in-law went to the spa on a date. When the capturing occurred, Yaun’s husband locked himself in a room and wasn’t injured, mentioned Yan’s half-sister, Dana Toole.
“He’s taking it hard,” Toole mentioned. “He was there. He heard the gunshots and everything. You can’t escape that when you’re in a room and gunshots are flying – what do you do?”
Paul Michels, who additionally died on the spa in Acworth, owned an alarm firm in Atlanta, the place he and his spouse, Bonnie, have lived 26 years, his brother John mentioned.
He believes his brother was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” They grew up with 9 siblings in Detriot, using dust bikes and spending summer season weekends at a lake and entering into mischief collectively, he mentioned. They each served within the U.S. Army on the similar time and his brother served as an infantryman within the late Eighties.
“I’m the closest in age, so we were basically like twins,” mentioned John, 52. “We did everything together growing up.”
Little has been revealed about Daoyou Feng.
– John Bacon and Dennis Wagner.
The lone capturing sufferer who survived the assault, Elcias Hernandez Ortiz, is hospitalized in intensive care.
His spouse, Flor Gonzalez, mentioned in an interview Thursday that he is at present intubated and as a result of have surgical procedure as early as subsequent week to take away the bullet in his stomach.
Gonzalez mentioned her husband, a Guatemalan immigrant, was on the way in which to a enterprise subsequent door to the therapeutic massage parlor, the place he sends cash to household again house. He known as her because the capturing was unfolding.
“They shot me, they shot me, come help me please,” she mentioned Hernandez-Ortiz supplicated. Those have been the final phrases Gonzalez has been in a position to hear from him, she mentioned on the verge of tears. Read extra about those that have been killed right here.
Hernandez-Ortiz is about to have surgical procedure as early as subsequent week to take away the bullet in his stomach.
– Romina Ruiz
A historic listening to Thursday on anti-Asian violence and discrimination, Congress’ first on the problem in additional than 30 years, turned emotional as lawmakers gave emotional pleas to finish the usage of divisive language simply days after the spa shootings in Atlanta left the Asian-American group rattled.
“Our community is bleeding. We are in pain. And for the last year, we’ve been screaming out for help,” Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., mentioned, noting the continued pleas all through the pandemic and rise in hate crimes concentrating on the Asian group.
Trevor Noah on Atlanta shootings:‘If that’s not racism then the word has no meaning’
Responding to Republican lawmakers’ arguments that the concentrate on hate crimes may hamper free speech Meng instructed lawmakers they may criticize different international locations however “you don’t have to do it by putting a bulls-eye on the back of Asian Americans across the county, on our grandparents, on our kids.”
Getting visibly emotional, Meng mentioned “this hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, to find solutions. And we will not let you take our voice from us”
Earlier within the listening to, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, requested whether or not the committee’s makes an attempt to stop hate crimes and hate incidents in opposition to Asian Americans would hamper free speech.
“It seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society,” he mentioned of the listening to, although he mentioned he opposed hate crimes and wished justice to be served for the perpetrator of the capturing in Atlanta that left eight individuals lifeless, six of whom have been Asian or Asian American.
– Nicholas Wu
If you see anti-Asian racism, Stop AAPI Hate, a gaggle that tracks acts of discrimination and xenophobia in opposition to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, recommends these five safety steps:
- Take motion. Go to the focused individual and supply assist.
- Actively pay attention. Before you do something, ask — after which respect the focused individual’s response. If want be, keep watch over the scenario.
- Ignore attacker. Try utilizing your voice, physique language or distractions to de-escalate the scenario (although use your judgment).
- Accompany. Ask the focused individual to go away with you if no matter is occurring escalates.
- Offer emotional assist. Find out how the focused individual is feeling and assist them decide what to do subsequent.
An increase in anti-Asian assaults:Here’s how to be an ally to the community.
Contributing: The Associated Press