8 Killed in Atlanta-Area Massage Parlor Shootings

Eight people, six of whom were Asian women, were fatally shot at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area Tuesday evening.

Sgt. John Chafee of Atlanta Police Department's Public Affairs Unit told People magazine that at around 5:47 p.m. local time, Atlanta police officers responded to a "business robbery in progress call" at Gold Spa massage parlor. Inside, they found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

While police were at the scene, they received reports that shots were being fired at another massage parlor, Fuji Spa, across the street. Chafee says officials found another woman shot and killed inside.

About an hour prior to those two shootings, five people had been shot at Young's Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia, about 30 miles north of Atlanta in Cherokee County.

Cherokee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker told the Associated Press that two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while three others were taken to a hospital. Of the three, two of them died.

Officials, who previously released a surveillance image of a suspect near a Hyundai Tucson outside one of the massage parlors, eventually captured Robert Aaron Long, 21, in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta, following a manhunt.

Per The New York Times, authorities say six of the eight people killed were of Asian descent and two were white. Seven of the victims were women. One Hispanic man was injured.

Citing the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, an official from the South Korean Consulate in Atlanta said four of the eight victims were ethnic Koreans.

At a press conference Wednesday, officials say Long allegedly confessed to the killings and told police he has a sexual addiction.

"He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds told reporters.

Police say Long told them he did not target the victims because of their race. However, officials warn it is too early in the investigation to rule out a racial motivation. Instead, Reynolds described the victims as "targets of opportunity."

Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office added that the gunman saw the spas as “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

Authorities allege that Long bought the gun used in the attacks just hours before the first shooting.

Officials say he said he planned to travel to Florida to kill more people had he not been arrested. Baker said he may have been trying to commit similar violence at a business connected to the “porn industry.”

That day, police also named the victims of the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage as Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and 44-year-old Daoyou Feng. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was injured.

Long will be arraigned Thursday morning. As of this writing, it is not clear if he has been formally charged.


More In Real Talk