COPS probing the Atlanta shooting have said that a "hate crime" not off table as they revealed that Robert Aaron Long bought gun on day of spa slaughter.
During a Thursday afternoon press briefing, Atlanta police said thatLong, 21, often went to the locations he targeted and bought a firearm the day of the murders.
Police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr said law enforcement was "looking at everything," says "nothing is off the table."
Cops previously said Long insisted the shooting wasn't racially motivated but noted that it was too early in the investigation to rule out a hate crime.
"I can say that he had frequented both of those locations, yes," Hampton told reporters. "Unfortunately, they were at that location. I can't say that he specifically targeted those individuals."
He added: "But I will say that he did frequent those locations as the question keeps coming up he did frequent those two locations in Atlanta.
"We just want to make sure that we do our due dilligence," the cop added. "Some of the family may reside stateside so maybe even here in the Atlanta area but we just want to do our due diligence [identifying the victims].
WHAT WE KNOW:
- 8 people died in three separate shootings at massage parlors.
- The first began at around 5pm on March 16 at the Youngs Asian Massage Parlor.
- Two people died at the scene, three casualties were transported to the hospital, where another two also died.
- Nearly an hour later, the gunman began another shooting spree in the Buckhead neighbourhood of Atlanta at Gold Spa.
- Three women were found dead at the second massage parlor.
- A fourth woman was shot dead at Aromatherapy Spa, just across the street from Gold Spa.
- Seven of the eight victims were women and six were Asian, police say.
- Long, 21, was arrested after a lengthy police pursuit that saw his black 2007 Hyundai Tuscon rammed off the road.
Hampton said they weren't aware of any "mental illness" but that Long did "purchase the gun the day of the incident."
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker previously comment that Long had “a really bad day” and “this is what he did" prompted a backlash.
At least eight people were killed in shootings in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16, mainly Asian women, including six of the eight dead, cops said.
Of the eight dead, seven were women and one a man, added officials.
The first shooting took place at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, followed by shootings at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta.
In the first shooting, two Asian women, one white woman and a white man were killed while three Asian women were then gunned down at Gold Spa, before an Asian woman was shot dead at Aromatherapy Spa.
At around 5pm cops responded to reports of a shooting at Young’s Asian Massage, off Bells Ferry Road and Highway 92 in Acworth, where they found five people with gunshot wounds.
Three people were taken to a hospital, where two of them died.
Long previously told investigators he had a "sex addiction" and thought the spas he targeted were a temptation for him.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris planned to meet with Asian American community leaders in Georgia in the wake of the parlor shootings, the White House said this afternoon.
Biden directed that flags be flown at half-staff through sunset Monday today in honor of the victims.
Long was supposed to appear in court today but waived his right to a first appearance hearing, according to his attorney.
Former roommate Tyler Bayless, 35, told Reuters that he spent several months living in an Atlanta halfway house for recovering addicts with the suspect.
Long was charged on Wednesday with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the Tuesday night shootings.
Bayless, who says he was being treated for drug addiction, said he was in a halfway house named Maverick Recovery with Long in late 2019 and early 2020, and last saw Long in February 2020.
He said Long had been treated for sex addiction and that he frequented massage parlors "for explicitly sexual activity."
Bayless said Long was "deeply religious" and would become "very emotionally distraught that he frequented these places."
"In the halfway house he would describe several of his sexual addiction 'relapses' as he called them. He would have a deep feeling of remorse and shame and say he needed to return to prayer and to return to God," he said.
Reuters called Maverick Recovery but the facility was not open.
Law enforcement officials said Long may have been struggling with a sex addiction that he presented as his motive for violence that primarily targeted minority women.
Authorities did not discount the possibility that the attacks were inspired at least in part by an anti-immigrant or anti-Asian sentiment, or some personal grievance.
Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. A white woman and white man were also among those killed. Long is white.
Long’s mugshot released by authorities showed him with a chin beard, short hair on the sides of his head, and longer hair on the top, some reaching his eyes.
Long graduated from Sequoyah High School in Canton, Georgia in 2017, a Cherokee County School District spokeswoman said.
The Daily Beast reported that an Instagram account appearing to belong to Long, but which was no longer active, contained a tagline that read: "Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life."
Elders at the Crabapple First Baptist Church, which Long attended in nearby Milton, Georgia, issued a statement expressing grief over the shootings.
"We are heartbroken for all involved. We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them,” the statement said. “Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well."
The church appeared to have disabled its Facebook page, which had contained a 2018 video clip in which Long talked about his baptism and youth group in the seventh grade when a speaker discussed the biblical parable of the prodigal son, according to the Daily Beast.
"The son goes off and squanders all that he has and lives completely for himself and then, when he finds he’s wanting to eat pig food, he realized there’s something wrong and he goes back to his father and his father runs back to him and embraces him," Long said in the clip.
"And by the grace of God I was able to draw the connection there and realize this is a story between what happened with me and God."
Long’s family did not respond to a request for comment. The family facilitated the arrest, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
Reuters visited the address listed in public records for the suspect and two other people with his surname.
It was a modest, well-kept house in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Woodstock, a predominantly white Cherokee County community of about 33,000 people.
The shades were drawn on Wednesday and an American flag hung from an awning at the front of the ranch-style home.
Source: Read Full Article