Suspect captured after eight killed in shootings at US massage parlours

Shootings at two massage parlours in Atlanta, US, and one in the suburbs Tuesday evening (local time) left eight people dead, many of them women of Asian descent, authorities say.
A 21-year-old man suspected in the shootings was taken into custody in southwest Georgia hours later after a manhunt, police said.

The attacks began around 5pm, when five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlour in a strip mall near a rural area in Acworth, about 50km north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Captain Jay Baker said.

Brynn Anderson/AP
Shootings at two massage parlours in Atlanta and one in the suburbs have left eight dead.

Two people died at the scene and three were transported to a hospital where two of them also died, Baker said.


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No-one was arrested at the scene.

Around 5:50pm, police in the Buckhead neighbourhood of Atlanta, responding to a call of a robbery in progress, found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa.

Cherokee County Sheriff's Office/AP
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been arrested in relation to the shootings.

While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman who appeared to have been shot dead inside the business.

It appears that they may be Asian,'' Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that its diplomats in Atlanta have confirmed from police that four of the victims who died were women of Korean descent. The ministry said the office of its Consulate General in Atlanta is trying to confirm the nationality of the women.

Mike Stewart/AP
The shootings occurred at three separate locations.

The killings came amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.

Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence,'' Governor Brian Kemp said Tuesday evening on Twitter.

A man suspected in the Acworth shooting was captured by surveillance video pulling up to the business around 4:50pm Tuesday, minutes before the attack, authorities said. Baker said the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, of Woodstock, was taken into custody in Crisp County, about 240km south of Atlanta.

Brynn Anderson/AP
Shootings at two massage parlours in Atlanta and one in the suburbs have left eight people dead.

Baker said they believe Long is also the suspect in the Atlanta shootings.

Police said video footage showed the suspect's vehicle in the area of the Atlanta spas about the time of those attacks as well. That, as well as other video evidence, suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County's, who is in custody,'' Atlanta police said in a statement. Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities were working to confirm the cases are related.

FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said the agency was assisting Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities in the investigation.

Brynn Anderson/AP
An official stands in front of a massage parlour after a shooting in Atlanta.

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said in a video posted on Facebook that his deputies and state troopers were notified around 8pm that a murder suspect out of north Georgia was headed towards their county.

Deputies and troopers set up along the interstate and made contact with the suspect,, who was driving a 2007 black Hyundai Tucson, around 8:30pm, he said.

A state trooper performed a PIT, or pursuit intervention technique, manoeuvre, which caused the vehicle to spin out of control, Hancock said.

Mike Stewart/AP
The killings came amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.

Long was then taken into custody without incident'' and was being held in the Crisp County jail for Cherokee County authorities who were expected to arrive soon to continue their investigation.

Due to the shootings, Atlanta police said they dispatched officers to check nearby similar businesses and increased patrols in the area.


AP

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