The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Suspect frequented spas where he killed, police say, but motive still under investigation

Residents paid their respects on March 18 at makeshift memorials outside three Atlanta-area spas where eight people, including six Asian women, were shot. (Video: Ian Cone, Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

Atlanta police said Thursday that the suspect in this week’s deadly spa shootings frequented the two businesses targeted in the city. But they refrained from discussing potential motives and said they are still investigating.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with eight counts of murder and homicide and one count of aggravated assault in attacks at three Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead, most of them Asian women. Atlanta police have yet to publicly identify four victims, saying they are having difficulty notifying next of kin.

Here’s what to know:

  • Rep. Chip Roy’s (R-Tex.) comments during a House Judiciary panel — defending the right to criticize China and seeming to celebrate lynchings — sparked an emotional outcry, as members battled along partisan lines over the extent of the threats facing Asian Americans and whether Republicans were partly to blame.
  • President Biden and Vice President Harris will meet Friday with Asian American leaders in Atlanta, part of broader outreach efforts after the killings. But many Asian Americans say they remain frustrated by a lack of representation.
  • Long’s first court appearance was abruptly canceled Thursday morning after he waived it in writing through his attorney, according to the Cherokee County district attorney’s office.
  • The past year had been momentous for Delaina Yaun, who gave birth to her second child and then got married. She was fatally shot at Young’s Asian Massage.
  • The sheriff’s captain who said Long was having a “bad day” when he allegedly fatally shot eight people on Tuesday will no longer be a spokesman on the case following a backlash.
  • A former roommate of the suspect at a sober-living facility in Roswell, Ga., said Long was there for what was called “sex addiction.” Researchers who study human sexuality and addiction say “sex addiction” is far from an established psychiatric diagnosis.