At least eight people were killed Tuesday in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. A suspect has been taken into custody in connection with one of the shootings, and Atlanta police said it is “extremely likely” he is also the suspect in the other two shootings.
At around 5 p.m., a shooting at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County killed four people, two of whom died after being transported to a hospital, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office. A fifth victim was injured and also transported to a hospital.
Later, three people were shot and killed at Gold Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. While officers were responding to the scene, they received another call for a shooting across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another person who had been shot and killed.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said all four victims from the Piedmont Road shootings were female and “appear to be Asian.”
The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed to CBS News that at least four of the eight victims were of Korean descent.
Cherokee County Police identified Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, as a suspect in the Young’s Asian Massage shooting. Long was taken into custody Tuesday night in Crisp County, Georgia.
He was taken into custody without incident around 8:30 p.m. after Georgia State Patrol troopers performed a PIT maneuver “which caused the vehicle to spin out of control,” according to the Crisp County Sheriff’s office.
In a statement Tuesday night, Atlanta police said that, “Video footage from our Video Integration Center places the Cherokee County suspect’s vehicle in the area, around the time of our Piedmont Road shootings. That, along with video evidence viewed by investigators, suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County’s, who is in custody.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigation.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement saying, “The President has been briefed overnight about the horrific shootings in Atlanta. White House officials have been in touch with the Mayor’s office and will remain in touch with the FBI.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who’s in Tokyo, offered his condolences, telling reporters, “We are horrified by this violence, which has no place in America or anywhere for that matter. … We will stand up for the right of our fellow Americans, Korean Americans, to be safe, to be treated with dignity.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Twitter thanked law enforcement for the “quick apprehension of a suspect” and said, “Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence.”
Senator Raphael Warnock tweeted, “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.”
The New York Police Department said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the NYPD’s Critical Response Command has been deployed to Asian communities throughout New York City in response to Tuesday’s shootings.
“The reported shootings of multiple Asian American women today in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy – for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the Asian American community, which has been reeling from high levels of racist attacks over the course of the past year,” Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that seeks to raise awareness of anti-Asian discrimination throughout the pandemic, said Tuesday night in a statement.
The organization noted it was still unclear if the shootings were “motivated by hate,” but added, “This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian American community continues to endure.”