The suspect in a series of shootings Tuesday that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women, at Atlanta area Asian spas indicated to authorities he had issues with “sex addiction,” according to investigators. They also say 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long told them he wanted to eliminate the temptation.“He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds. Officials also say Long may have been on his way to Florida to commit more shootings.Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock in Cherokee County is seen in a jail booking photograph after he was taken into custody by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office in Cordele, Georgia, March 16, 2021.The other two people who died in Tuesday’s shootings were white. A ninth person was hospitalized in stable condition.Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said it was too early to classify the shootings as hate crimes.Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement, “A crime against any community is a crime against us all.””I commend law enforcement for their quick work in arresting a suspect in the tragic shootings,” she said. “I have remained in close contact with the White House and APD as they work with federal, state and local partners to investigate the suspect, who is responsible for this senseless violence in our city.”Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted, “These horrific crimes have no place in Georgia.” Kemp also said he and the state’s first lady “are heartbroken and disgusted by the heinous shootings that took place last night.” He said they will continue to pray for the families and loved ones of the victims.In a statement Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden would be briefed over the phone by Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray “on the horrific shootings last night in Atlanta.”In a televised speech last week, President Biden denounced violence targeting Asian Americans. In January, he signed measures to address incidents that have involved Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.Vice President Kamala Harris said the shootings speak “to a larger issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we must do to never tolerate it and to always speak out against it.” Harris is of South Asian descent.Former U.S. president Barack Obama Wednesday tweeted, “Yesterday’s shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society.” He also said, “Although the shooter’s motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end.”Authorities investigate a fatal shooting at a massage parlor, late March 16, 2021, in Acworth, Georgia.The first attack took place at a massage parlor in the town of Acworth, about 50 kilometers north of Atlanta. Authorities there said a shooter killed two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, and wounded another man.  About an hour later, police in Atlanta found three Asian women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at a beauty spa. They then found another Asian woman dead of a gunshot at a spa a short distance away.  Police said surveillance video showed the suspect’s vehicle at all three locations, and that they were very confident the same shooter was responsible for all the attacks.  After a highway pursuit, police stopped a vehicle about 240 kilometers south of Atlanta and arrested Long.  The shootings come amid a rising number of attacks against people of Asian descent in the United States.  The group Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta said in a statement that while the details of the shootings are still emerging, “the broader context cannot be ignored. The shootings happened under the trauma of increasing violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fueled by white supremacy and systemic racism.”The group also said that the previous Trump administration’s “relentless scapegoating of Asians for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the incidences of hate and violence against Asian Americans around the country.”  Former President Donald Trump frequently referred to the coronavirus as “the China virus.” He also blamed the Chinese government for the global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus which was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
 

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