No early sign of racial motive in Georgia spa shootings but probe not over, authorities say

ATLANTA (REUTERS) – The suspect in the fatal shooting of eight people at day spas in and around Atlanta on Tuesday indicated he had issues with sexual addiction and the shootings may have not been motivated by racial hatred, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday (March 17).

Officials said that suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, appeared to have frequented the spas targeted in the shootings and that he headed towards Florida afterwards, perhaps to carry out further shootings.

Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. It was the latest instance of gun violence involving numerous deaths in the United States.

The bloodshed began about 5pm on Tuesday when four people were killed and another was wounded in a shooting at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County, about 65km north of Atlanta, Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department said.

Two women of Asian descent were among the dead there, along with a white woman and a white man, Baker said, adding that the surviving victim was a Hispanic man.

In Atlanta, Georgia’s state capital, police officers responding to a call of a “robbery in progress” shortly before 6pm arrived at the Gold Spa beauty salon and found three women shot dead, Police Chief Rodney Bryant told reporters.

While investigating the initial report, the officers were called to a separate aromatherapy spa across the street where another woman was found dead from a gunshot wound, Bryant said.

All four women killed in Atlanta were of Asian descent.

A suspect, identified as Robert Aaron Long, 21, was captured in Crisp County after a manhunt. PHOTO: AFP PHOTO / CRISP COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

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