COPS in Georgia have been blasted as ‘racist’ after describing the mass shootings of six Asian women and two white people as a ‘bad day’ for their alleged killer.
Robert Aaron Long, 21 – who allegedly gunned down eight people at three different massage parlor locations in Atlanta on March 16 – has been charged over the attack.
Four of the women were of Korean descent. The victims have so far been named as Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and 44-year-old Daoyou Feng.
“He was at the end of his rope and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Cherokee police Captain Jay Baker said at a press conference.
It later emerged Baker had shared a picture of 'racist' t-shirts on Facebook in April last year.
The picture showed the shirts with Corona beer labels that read: “Covid 19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA.”
In the post on his social media Baker wrote: “Love my shirt. Get yours while they last.”
The comment that Long was “having a bad day” has been blasted for seemingly lessening the severity of the horror inflicted on the victims and their families in the mass shooting by critics.
“If this murderer were Muslim, Black, or basically anything other than white, there is no way killing innocent people would be characterized as ‘having a bad day’,” wrote Jemele Hill on Twitter.
“How can anyone refer a shooting on innocent lives (regardless of race) as just a having a bad day? It is hate crime/terrorism. How can it be anything else?” posted Uyu Shen, with the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
Suchita Reddy added: “I woke up today and saw this press conference regarding the Atlanta mass shooting and the police officer said that the shooter was having a bad day. He killed 8 Asian American women and they chose to empathise with the killer??? Ughhhh.”
After being run off the road and taken into custody, Long told police that he was not motivated by racism but claims he has a sex addiction and blames the spas he targeted.
Hari Kondabolu said: "The fact he sees ASIAN WOMEN as 'temptations' for his sex addiction is racial motivation. Not seeing this as racist IS racist. #StopAsianHate."
Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian West, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the NFL and Andrew Cuomo were among those who tweeted about the killings and Asian-American hate.
The hashtag #StopAsianHate was the third trend on Twitter and the Association of Asian American Journalists released a set of guidelines to newsrooms on the issue.
Former president Obama tweeted: "Although the shooter's motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end."
One day after a total of eight victims were gunned down – seven were women and six of them were of Asian descent – the Atlanta Police Department shared the first 911 call for the massage parlor shootings.
The first audio, shared to YouTube in a one-minute and 50-second clip, reveals a woman telling a 911 operator to "please hurry."
The call came through to 911 at 5.47pm from the woman inside the Gold Spa.
When the woman calling was asked whether she had a description of the male suspect, the caller quietly stated: "We’re hiding right now, that’s why. They have a gun."
The witness continued: "We need an ambulance here… we need police here."
The caller mentioned multiple times about a robbery in the spa, but when she was questioned the robber's whereabouts, she answered: "I don’t know.
"I’m hiding right now."
After being asked what the suspect was wearing, the caller appears to say: "I don’t know please just come. Ok?"
The second 911 call – which lasted approximately four minutes and came in about 10 minutes after the first call – was from a woman who got a call about the frightening incident at the Aromatherapy Spa.
"I just got a call from one of my friends and they say some guy came in…. and the lady’s passed out," the second caller explained. "Everybody’s scared so they’re hiding."
She later repeated herself: "Everybody heard the gunshot and some lady got hurt."
Following the attacks, the alleged gunman, Long, took responsibility for the shootings and told cops that the massage parlors were a "temptation that he wanted to eliminate."
Long was arrested on Tuesday night after leading cops on a three hour car chase, Cherokee County Sheriff's spokesperson Howard J Baker said.
Captain Jay Baker said that Long had been charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assaulted for the Cherokee County shooting, the New York Times reported.
However, charges have not yet been announced in connection with the attacks in the City of Atlanta.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a press conference on Wednesday that Long had potential "sexual addiction" issues.
CNN later reported that a former roommate had claimed the alleged shooter spent time in a sex rehab clinic.
Sheriff Reynolds added that cops believe Long "frequented these places in the past" and that he "may have been lashing out".
They added that Long claimed the attack was not racially motivated.
The Atlanta Police Department added that Long was on his way to Florida, where they believe he was going to "do similar acts in the state" targeting "some type of porn industry."
Long did not target the victims due to their ethnicity, rather that he chose locations that he "knew specifically," according to Channel 2.
The first shooting occurred at a Cherokee County massage parlor about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta before two other spas across the street from each other in northeast Atlanta were targeted.
Long was only apprehended after authorities performed a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) to stop his vehicle.
The move "caused the vehicle to spin out of control" as Long was reportedly driving south on Interstate 75.
He was taken into custody "without incident" and was being held at the Crisp County jail.
The suspect is heading back to Cherokee County for a court hearing on Friday morning regarding the slaughters.
The FBI are now assisting the investigation into the shooting spree, that saw six Asian women shot dead.
Of the eight dead, seven were women and one a man, according to officials. Two of the victims were white, cops said.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the four victims who died at that location were: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49 and Daoyou Feng, 44.
They added that one victim who was injured, but is in stable condition, was identified as Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30.
Victim Delaina was "getting a couple's massage with her husband" when she was shot dead in the massacre.
South Korea have since confirmed that four of the victims were of Korean descent.
Further details have not yet been released on the victims, but Atlanta Police Chief Rodney N. Bryant confirmed the majority were female and Asian.
It is not yet clear if it was a racially motivated attack, but officials from all jurisdictions said they are "very confident" that the same suspect was involved in all three shootings.
The first shooting happened at around 5pm at the Youngs Asian Massage Parlor off Bells Ferry Road and Highway 92 in Acworth, Georgia.
Two people died at the scene. A further three were transported to hospital, were another two succumbed to their injuries.
The Sheriff's Office spokesman Captain Jay Baker confirmed that two Asian women, a white woman, a white man, and a Hispanic man had been injured.
It appears all five victims were shot inside the business.
Less than an hour later, police responded to a call off a "robbery in progress" at Gold Spa, in northeast Atlanta.
Three women were shot dead in the appalling attack.
The gunman then headed to another spa situated just across the street, the Aromatherapy Spa, where officers found another woman deceased.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said all four victims were female, and "it appears that they may be Asian".
While at Gold Spa, cops "received another call across the street that had shots fired," Bryant said. "We responded to that to find another individual was shot at that location."
Long was captured by surveillance video pulling up to the business around 4.50pm, just minutes before the shooting.
The sheriff's office had posted surveillance pictures on its Facebook page, asking people to share the images that show the man near the vehicle.
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