KEY POINTS

  • Eight people were killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta
  • Six of the victims were of Asian descent
  • Authorities have not yet released a possible motive for the crime

Eight people were killed after a shooter opened fire at three massage parlors in Atlanta on Tuesday evening, authorities reported. 

All but one of the victims were women. The shootings raised fears that Asian hate crimes are surging even more than previous incidents have indicated, considering six of the people murdered were of Asian background, metro Atlanta police officers said. The other people killed were white.

Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said four people died in the first shooting, at Young’s Asian Massage on Ga. 92 near Acworth, at around 5 p.m. Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene while the others died at a hospital. The incident also left an Hispanic man injured. 

Police officers responded to another shooting at 5:47 p.m. at Gold Spa on Piedmont Road -- about a 30 minutes from where the first incident occurred -- where they found three women dead from gunshot wounds. 

While the officers were at Gold Spa, they received a report of shots fired across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where they discovered the dead body of another woman.

Authorities arrested Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Ga., after a surveillance image showed him outside one of the massage parlors. Law enforcement officers chased Long’s SUV on Interstate 75 before a state trooper made a manuever that caused the alleged shooter to lose control of the vehicle.

"The suspect was taken into custody without incident ... and transported to the Crisp County jail," a law enforcement official said

Atlanta police have not yet established a motive for the shooting spree. They also refused to reveal what type of gun had been used. 

Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that aims to prevent anti-Asian discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, called the shootings “an unspeakable tragedy.” The organization revealed that it received about 3,800 reports of hate incidents targeting people of Asian descent in the U.S. since March 2020. 

“Tuesday’s shooting will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian-American community continues to endure,” the organization said. 

In New York, the NYPD announced it would deploy additional officers to Asian communities across the city as a precautionary measure. 

“#NYPDCT is monitoring the shooting of Asian Americans in Georgia. While there is no known nexus to #NYC we will be deploying assets to our great Asian communities across the city out of an abundance of caution,” the agency wrote on Twitter. 

A protester takes part in a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, near Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, on February 20, 2021 A protester takes part in a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, near Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, on February 20, 2021 Photo: AFP / RINGO CHIU