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Police: Georgia capturing suspect could have ‘intercourse dependancy’

ATLANTA (AP) – The person accused of killing eight folks at Atlanta-area therapeutic massage parlors advised police his act was not racially motivated and that he doubtlessly had ” intercourse dependancy, ”officers mentioned Wednesday.

Nonetheless, officers mentioned they had been investigating whether or not the deaths had been hate crimes amid considerations over a wave of assaults on Asian People. Six of the victims had been Asian and 7 had been ladies.

Officers didn’t say that Robert Aaron Lengthy, 21, had ever been to the dwelling rooms the place the capturing happened. In addition they mentioned he was planning to journey to Florida in a plot to assault “some sort of porn business.”

“He is made indicators that he is having issues, doubtlessly intercourse dependancy, and should have frequented a few of these locations prior to now,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds mentioned.

He mentioned it was too early to say if this was race motivated. “However the present indicators are that it might not be. These may be targets of alternative. Once more, we consider he has frequented these locations prior to now and should have gone wild about them. “

Many suspects who commit mass shootings have a historical past of violence towards ladies. Nonetheless, the assault haunted members of the Asian-American neighborhood who noticed the capturing as an assault on them, given a recent wave of assaults which coincided with the unfold of the coronavirus throughout the USA. The virus was first recognized in China, after which President Donald Trump and others have used racist phrases like “Chinese language virus” to explain it.

“We’re in a spot the place now we have seen a rise in hate crimes towards Asian People for the reason that begin of the pandemic,” mentioned Georgia State Consultant Bee Nguyen. “It is exhausting to suppose that it is not particularly geared toward our neighborhood.”

The assaults started Tuesday evening when 5 folks had been gunned down on the Youngs Asian therapeutic massage parlor close to Woodstock, about 50 miles north of Atlanta, mentioned Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesperson Captain Jay Baker. . Two folks died on the scene and three had been taken to a hospital the place two died, Baker mentioned.

About an hour later, police responding to a name a few theft discovered three ladies lifeless from obvious gunshot wounds at Gold Spa close to the Buckhead space of ​​Atlanta, the place tattoo parlors and strip clubs- tease are a couple of blocks from the mansions and skyscrapers in one of many final unspoiled entrenchments. on this a part of city. Officers then discovered {that a} name reported pictures fired from throughout the road on the Aromatherapy Spa and located one other girl apparently shot lifeless.

“It appears like they’re Asian,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant mentioned.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned President Joe Biden had been briefed on the “horrific shootings” and would obtain an replace later Wednesday from Lawyer Common Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant warned it was too early to inform if the assault was a hate crime. Over the previous yr, 1000’s of incidents of abuse have been reported to an anti-hate group that tracks incidents towards Asian People, and hate crimes basically have been at an all-time excessive for over of a decade.

“We’re heartbroken by these acts of violence,” Asian People Advancing Justice – Atlanta mentioned in an announcement. “Whereas the main points of the capturing nonetheless emerge, the bigger context can’t be ignored. The shootings happened beneath the trauma of rising violence towards Asian People throughout the nation, fueled by white supremacy and systemic racism.

Police in Atlanta and different main cities deplored the killings, and a few mentioned they’d enhance patrols in Asian-American communities. The Seattle mayor mentioned “the violence in Atlanta was an act of hate,” and San Francisco police tweeted #StopAsianHate. The New York Police Division’s counterterrorism unit mentioned it was on alert for related assaults.

Different civil liberties teams and distinguished People have additionally expressed dismay. Reverend Bernice King, daughter of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., mentioned she was “deeply saddened that we reside in a nation and a world steeped in hatred and violence. I stand alongside the Asian members of our World Home, who’re a part of our international human household. “

Former President Barack Obama lamented that “regardless that now we have fought the pandemic, now we have continued to miss the longer lasting epidemic of gun violence in America”. Whereas acknowledging that the gunman’s motive was not identified, he mentioned that “the identification of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence which should finish.”

Surveillance video recorded a person driving to the Cherokee County enterprise about 10 minutes earlier than the assault, and the identical automotive was noticed outdoors the Atlanta companies, authorities mentioned. A manhunt was launched and Lengthy was taken into custody in Crisp County, about 240 miles south of Atlanta, Baker mentioned.

The video proof “means that this can be very possible that our suspect is identical because the Cherokee County suspect who’s in custody,” Atlanta police mentioned in an announcement.

South Korea’s International Ministry mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that its diplomats in Atlanta had confirmed to police that 4 of the deceased victims had been ladies of Korean descent. The ministry mentioned its consulate basic in Atlanta was attempting to verify the nationality of ladies.

FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson mentioned the company was aiding authorities in Atlanta and Cherokee County with the investigation.

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock mentioned in a video posted to Fb that his deputies and state troopers had been advised Tuesday night {that a} homicide suspect from northern Georgia was heading their method . Deputies and troopers settled alongside the freeway and “contacted the suspect,” he mentioned.

A state soldier carried out a PIT maneuver, or pursuit response method, “which made the automobile spin uncontrolled,” Hancock mentioned. Lengthy was then taken into custody “with out incident”.

Crisp County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Haley Wade mentioned Wednesday morning that Lengthy, who’s white, was not of their custody and her workplace had handed her data to different Georgian businesses and the FBI.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who’s in South Korea to fulfill with International Minister Chung Eui-yong, referred to the killings in a gap assertion.

“We’re horrified by this violence which has no place in America or elsewhere,” he mentioned.

“Our entire household is praying for the victims of those horrific acts of violence,” Governor Brian Kemp mentioned on Twitter Tuesday night.

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Related Press editors Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this story.

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