Man charged with killing 8 people at Georgia massage parlors
A white gunman was charged on March 17 with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in an attack that sent terror through the Asian American community, which has increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic.
A day after the shootings, investigators were trying to unravel what might have compelled 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long to commit the worst mass killing in the U.S. in almost two years.
Long told police that March 16's attack was not racially motivated. He claimed to have a "sex addiction," and authorities said he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation. But those statements spurred outrage and widespread skepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.
The shootings appear to be at the "intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia," said state Rep. Bee Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American to serve in the Georgia House and a frequent advocate for women and communities of color.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that regardless of the shooter's motivation, "it is unacceptable, it is hateful and it has to stop."
Authorities said they didn't know if Long ever went to the massage parlors where the shootings occurred but that he was heading to Florida to attack "some type of porn industry."
"He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it's a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate," Cherokee County sheriff's Capt. Jay Baker told reporters.
Baker drew criticism for saying Long had "a really bad day" and "this is what he did." A Facebook page appearing to belong to Baker promoted a T-shirt...