8 people shot dead in Atlanta, US, 6 victims Asian women, suspect in custody

Long's family helped the police to identify and track him down.

Sulaiman Daud | March 18, 2021, 02:12 PM

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Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old man, is accused of a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S. that has left at least eight people dead.

Long is currently in police custody.

According to CNN, he attacked a number of spas late on Tuesday afternoon, continuing on to the evening (Wednesday, Mar. 18, Singapore time), hitting three places in total.

State troopers apprehended Long after using a manoeuver to "spin his car out of control".

According to a police representative, he "(took) responsibility" for the shootings.

6 of 8 victims were Asian women

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, citing authorities, six of the eight victims were Asian women. CNN reported that the two other victims were White.

According to South Korea's Foreign Ministry, four of the victims were of Korean ethnicity.

There was some speculation that the attacks were racially-motivated. Atlanta's mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged that most of Long's victims were Asian, and said violence against Asian-Americans is "happening around the country" and called it "unacceptable".

A number of recent attacks on Asian people in the U.S. have garnered widespread media attention, such as the death of an elderly Thai man in San Francisco, and a Chinese woman in New York who had her clothes set on fire.

According to a county sheriff representative, Jay Baker, Long told the police that the shootings were "not racially-motivated".

However, Yahoo noted that South Korea daily Chosun Ilbo quoted a "local Korean media" outlet who reportedly interviewed a witness that might suggest otherwise.

This witness claimed that Long shouted he would "kill all Asians", although this has yet to be confirmed by the authorities.

Potential sexual addiction issues, "deeply religious" person

Sheriff Frank Reynolds informed reporters that Long potentially had "sexual addiction issues", and this may have been a factor behind the shootings.

Long's former roommate, who spoke to CNN, claimed that Long had been in rehabilitation for sexual addiction.

He identified Long from surveillance photos that surfaced online, and informed the police.

Another person named Tyler Bayless who also knew Long, spoke to CNN. Bayless said he formerly shared a housing unit with Long at a rehabilitation facility in 2019 and 2020.

According to CNN:

"Bayless told CNN that Long felt 'tortured' by an addiction to sex and had gone to massage parlors for sex.

"It was something that absolutely would torture him," Bayless said.

He said Long was a 'deeply religious person -- he would often go on tangents about his interpretation of the Bible,' and was distraught about his addiction to sex.

Bayless said that on multiple occasions during his stay at the facility, Long told him that he had 'relapsed' and 'gone to massage parlors explicitly to engage in sex acts.'"

According to Mayor Bottoms, the spas were "legally-operating businesses".

Family helped to identify suspect

A law enforcement source stated that Long was recently kicked out of the house by his family because of his sexual addiction, which included frequently spending hours watching online pornography.

CNN reported that an anonymous 911 caller said the suspect was kicked out of his house "last night" and said he was "emotional".

According to the New York Post, Long's family helped the police to identify and track him down, which could have possibly prevented more bloodshed, with Long allegedly planning to travel to Florida following the shootings in Georgia.

Top image from Crisp County Sheriff's Office via Nick Harris's Facebook page and Cherokee County Sheriff's Office via Tonia Reid's Facebook page.