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Suspect charged with eight counts of murder in killings at Atlanta-area spas, authorities say

Atlanta store owners said they were “shocked but not surprised” after eight people, including six Asian women, were fatally shot at three city-area spas. (Video: Brandon Baker, Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

The 21-year-old suspect in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas has been charged with eight counts of murder and homicide and one count of aggravated assault, police said Wednesday.

Robert Aaron Long was charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the attacks in Cherokee County, according to the sheriff’s office there. The Atlanta police said later Wednesday afternoon that he was also charged with four counts of homicide in the killings in that city.

Six Asian women died in the attacks on Tuesday, prompting widespread concern that the killings could be the latest in a surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

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Long told investigators that he has a “sexual addiction,” authorities say, and that the spas were “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.” Police added that it was too early to be certain that the slayings were not racially motivated.
Long was reportedly on his way to Florida to carry out additional shootings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said.
Police identified the four victims killed in Cherokee County and added that a fifth suffered wounds that are not life-threatening. Delaina Yaun was a well-liked Waffle House employee who relatives and friends say was killed while on a date night.
Vice President Harris called the shootings “tragic” and expressed condolences to the families of the eight people killed. President Biden also said he was “very concerned” about the shootings.
While many Democrats were quick to condemn the shooting and link it to Trump’s rhetoric, Republicans remained mostly quiet.
Asian American leaders are warning that a deepening geopolitical confrontation between the United States and China is contributing to the heightened suspicion, prejudice and violence against their communities.


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