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4 Of The Victims Killed In A Series Of Atlanta-Area Massage Parlor Attacks Have Been Identified
Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Paul Andre Michels all lost their lives at Youngs Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia; a fifth shooting victim, Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, survived but remains hospitalized.
The identities of four of the victims who died Tuesday in a shooting spree targeting three separate Georgia massage parlors have been released.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victims as 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan of Kennesaw; 44-year-old Daoyou Feng; 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun of Acworth; and 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels of Atlanta, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Tan had been the owner of Youngs Asian Massage, located in the Atlanta suburb of Acworth, according to records obtained by the newspaper. The four named victims were all gunned down at that location.
Authorities believe 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long entered the massage parlor around 5 p.m. Tuesday night, opened fire inside the business and then fled.
Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was also shot in the parking lot of the massage parlor and is in serious but stable condition at a local hospital, WSB-TV reports. His family is hoping for a full recovery.
Authorities believe Long continued the killing spree less than an hour later at two Atlanta massage parlors—killing another four people who have yet to be identified. Investigators have said six of the eight victims were Asian women.
A woman inside Gold Spa on Piedmont Road called 911 to report a robbery in progress and said she was hiding from a man with a gun inside the business, the paper reports. Police arrived a few minutes later to find three women dead inside the store. They were investigating those deaths when shots were fired at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street, where another woman was killed.
Long—who authorities say was captured in surveillance footage outside the properties—was taken into custody Tuesday night about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
The attack some at a time of increasing bias incidents targeting Asian-Americans, but investigators said Long has denied the shootings were racially motivated.
“During his interview, he gave no indicators that this was racially motivated,” Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Wednesday, according to Journal-Constitution. “We asked him that specifically and the answer was no.”
Reynolds said that Long had a "sexual addiction" and allegedly told investigators that he wanted to “eliminate the temptation,” WSB-TV reports.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, however, cautioned that she was taking that explanation with a "grain of salt," during an interview with CNN Wednesday.
"This is a man who murdered eight people in cold blood," she said. "All of the victims in Atlanta were Asian. ... It is very difficult to ignore that the Asian community has once again been targeted and it's happening all over the country."
Crimes against Asian Americans have soared across the United States. According to a new study conducted by Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate, Asian-Americans were targeted in around 3,800 hate incidents in the past year alone, an increase of more than 25% from the previous year.
Gov. Brian Kemp called the shootings a “tragic night in our state” and said the investigation into the shocking crimes is ongoing.
“Our hearts are breaking for the victims and their families, and we’re certainly keeping them in our prayers,” he said.
Long is expected to appear in court for his arraignment Thursday, according to People. He is facing eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault for his alleged involvement in the shooting spree.