Atlanta spa shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long allegedly denied that the shooting was racially motivated and that his sex addiction was the reason he killed eight people, most being Asian women, law enforcement officials said.
Long is facing multiple counts of murder and one count of assault. He is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday, BNC confirmed.
The suspect in the shootings at three metro Atlanta spas has been charged with murder and assault Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials.
Authorities took suspected shooter Robert Aaron Long into custody Tuesday night, BNC confirmed.
The 21-year old is facing four counts of murder and one count of assault, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities are investigating three shootings at spas that occurred in the metro Atlanta area. Eight people were killed, with most being Asian women.
Three people were killed at a spa in northeast Atlanta and a fourth person was killed at a spa across the street, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said, according to the Associated Press.
A third shooting happened at a spa in Cherokee County.
“We do not know if this is the suspect from the incident in Atlanta,” sheriff Captain Jay Baker told reporters, per NBC News. “Nothing’s going to be ruled out. We’re conducting a multiple homicide investigation. So, wherever the evidence leads us, that’s where the investigators will go.”
Law enforcement officials confirmed that two people were dead at the Cherokee County spa, with three injured. Two of the injured later died and another remains hospitalized, according to NBC News.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the shootings.
Police have ramped up patrols in the area as a safety precaution.
8 killed in shootings at 3 metro Atlanta spas. Police have 1 suspect in custody.
“Here in Atlanta they did say they’ve had to beef up patrol in these areas and are doing check ins for similar run businesses to make sure everything is ok.” – @aiyanacristal #StartYourDay pic.twitter.com/k27s77IqT8
— BNC (@BNCNews) March 17, 2021
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp thanked law enforcement officials for their work and said his family is praying for the victims.
Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) March 17, 2021
Senator Raphael Warnock also posted about the incident on Twitter.
My heart is broken tonight after the tragic violence in Atlanta that took eight lives. Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community.
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) March 17, 2021
Long’s congregation, Crabapple First Baptist Church, released a statement to BNC saying:
We are grieved to hear the tragic news about the multiple deaths in the Atlanta area. We are heartbroken for all involved. We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them. Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well. – The elders of Crabapple First Baptist Church
Bottoms held a press conference on Wednesday morning with local law enforcement officials who responded to the shootings.
“A crime against any community is a crime against us all,” Bottoms said.
Law enforcement agencies say it is too early to determine if this act is a hate crime.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
According to Cherokee County Police Sheriff Frank Reynolds, the department received the call about the shooter and used video footage to identify the suspect.
Members of Long’s family contacted the police and helped in the apprehension.
Reynolds said a “coordinated effort” with multiple jurisdictions, Georgia State Patrol and the FBI assisted in Long’s arrest.
According to Chief Reynolds, when questioned by police and the FBI Tuesday night, Long indicated that he struggled with sexual addiction. He also told investigators he may have frequented some of the locations he targeted.
When asked if sexual activities were being performed at the targeted spas. Mayor Bottoms said no evidence currently indicates that and the victims are not to blame.
“We are not about to get into victim blaming, victim shaming here,” she said.
Long is in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center. He is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Teddy Grant and Alyssa Wilson contributed to this story.