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UPDATE 1-Prosecutor says suspect in Georgia spa shootings committed hate crimes -NY Times

UPDATE 1-Prosecutor says suspect in Georgia spa shootings committed hate crimes -NY Times

05/11/2021 16:34
UPDATE 1-Prosecutor says suspect in Georgia spa shootings committed hate crimes -NY Times

Adds background

- A prosecutor in Georgia on Tuesday said the suspect in the shooting deaths of eight people at Atlanta-area spas had targeted some of his victims because they were Asian, thus committing hate crimes, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old suspect, Robert Aaron Long, has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault connected to a string of shootings at day spas in March, in which six of the eight people killed were Asian women.

In a court filing, the Fulton County prosecutor said Long had targeted four women in Atlanta because of their race, national origin and gender, and said she was planning to seek the death penalty against Long, the Times reported.

Long told investigators that a sex addiction drove him to commit the killings and indicated he frequented spas in the area. While authorities initially declined to name racial animosity as Long's motive, the massacre immediately sent shock waves through the Asian American community already rattled by a rise in hate crimes directed at them since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The bloodshed on March 16 began with four people killed and another wounded at Young's Asian Massage in Cherokee County, about 40 miles (64 km) north of the state capital. Two Asian women were among the dead there, along with a white woman and a white man.

In Atlanta, police officers responding to a robbery report an hour later arrived at the Gold Spa beauty salon to find three women shot dead. The officers were then called to a separate spa across the street where another woman was found fatally shot. All four women killed in Atlanta were Asian.


(Reporting by Gabriella Borter and Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Leslie Adler and Dan Grebler)

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