Shooting in Atlanta: Asian women among eight killed in 3 American spas | News on the coronavirus pandemic
At least eight people, mostly Asian women, were killed Tuesday in shootings at three different spas in the US state of Georgia, with a 21-year-old white man in custody on suspicion of organizing the three attacks, police said.
The shooting came with many Asian Americans already on edge following a recent spike in hate crimes against the community and sparked immediate fears that Asian-run businesses have been deliberately isolated.
Four of the victims were killed at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, a suburb of Georgia’s capital Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper that the victims were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, while a Hispanic man was injured.
The Atlanta Police Department separately confirmed that four women were found dead at two commercial establishments in northeast Atlanta, identified as the Gold Massage Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa.
Police told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the four Atlanta victims were Asian women.
Authorities have identified Robert Aaron Long as a suspect in all three shootings.
Based on the surveillance video of the filming scenes, Atlanta Police spokesman Sergeant John Chafee told AFP news agency: “It is highly likely that our suspect is the same. than the one from Cherokee County, who is in police custody. “
“We are working closely with them to confirm with certainty that our cases are related,” he added.
Long was taken into custody after a “brief chase” about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from Atlanta, according to a Georgia Department of Security statement on Facebook.
Describing the scene in northeast Atlanta, the city police department said, “Upon arrival, officers located three women who died inside the scene from apparent gunshot wounds.”
At the scene, police were told of shots fired from across the street, where they found a fourth female victim.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted in the investigation, a spokesperson told AFP.
“ Marginalized minorities ”
The shootings come as reports of attacks on Asian Americans, mostly seniors, have increased in recent months – intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, activists say, speaking of the “Chinese virus” by former President Donald Trump and others.
The New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau said it was “monitoring shootings of Asian Americans in Georgia” and deploying officers “to our large Asian communities across the city out of great caution. », While adding that there was no known link with the city.
While racial motivation may be difficult to establish, a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino found that reported anti-Asian hate crimes nearly tripled from 49 to 122 cases a year. last in 16 major US cities, including New York. and Los Angeles – even as hate crimes overall fell 7%.
Georgia has nearly 500,000 Asian residents, or just over 4% of its population, according to the Asian American Advocacy Fund.
The Georgia Democratic Party called Tuesday’s shooting “horrific.”
“As details continue to emerge, this attack unfortunately follows the unacceptable pattern of violence against Asian Americans that has exploded throughout this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who is also the President of the State Party.
“Today’s tragic murders in #Atlanta reaffirm the need for us to step up and protect ALL marginalized minorities in America from racism,” tweeted Ben Crump, a lawyer known to have recently represented several black victims high level of police brutality in the United States. years.
In an address to the nation last Thursday, President Joe Biden strongly condemned what he called “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.”
“That’s wrong. It’s not American. And it has to stop,” he said.