The police press conference in Atlanta provided new information about the suspect and how he was detained by police, but little information has been available on the victims.
Five people were shot in Cherokee County, Georgia, just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Two Asian women, a white woman and a white man were killed, according to police, who have not shared an update on the condition of the fifth person, a Hispanic man. They all appeared to have been shot inside the massage room.
In Atlanta, about 30 miles from that business, four more people were killed in shootings at two massage parlors across the street, according to police.
Three women were found dead from gunshot wounds at the first store, and one woman was found dead from a gunshot wound at the other location. Police said the four victims appeared to be Asian women.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that diplomats in Atlanta confirmed that four of the seven women killed were of Korean descent. Their nationalities are not known.
Advocacy group Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta said the broader context of the shootings it couldn’t be ignored.
Phi Nguyen, the group’s chief litigation officer, said in a statement: “The fact that the Asian women killed yesterday were working in highly vulnerable and low-wage jobs during an ongoing pandemic speaks directly to the aggravated effects of misogyny, structural violence and white supremacy. “
Vice President Kamala Harris just commented on the shooting from the White House.
We mourn the loss, our prayers go out to the families of those who have been killed. And it talks about a broader issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we must do to never tolerate it and always speak out against it. The investigation is ongoing, we do not know yet, we are not yet clear why, but I want to tell our Asian American community that we are with you and we understand how this has scared, shocked and outraged everyone. But knowing the increasing level of hate crimes against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak in solidarity with them and recognize that none of us should remain silent in the face of any form of hate.
At the Atlanta press conference, Capt. Jay Baker of Cherokee County, Georgia, shared more details of the police interview with the suspect.
Baker said the suspect took responsibility for the shooting and said it was not racially motivated, although authorities have yet to investigate whether those two things are actually true.
Baker said there was no indication that anyone was working with the suspect and that the suspect had indicated that he viewed massage parlors as a “way out.”
“I was trying to get out of this temptation,” Baker said.
The suspect in shooting the ‘frequented’ massage parlors
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said the department had received many calls about whether the shooting had been classified as a hate crime. “We are still in the early stages of this investigation, so we cannot make this determination at this time,” Bryant said at an ongoing press conference in Atlanta.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds of Cherokee County, Georgia, where one of the selected resorts was located, said police had interviewed the suspect overnight and that he indicated he had “sexual addiction” problems. “We think he frequented these places in the past,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the suspect’s family saw a police alert identifying the suspect and contacted the department to help them find him.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms said the suspect was heading to Florida when he was stopped by police and that more shootings may have been planned.
Lance-Bottoms said he spoke with Joe Biden about the shooting and that the White House had offered to provide additional resources to the city as needed. “A crime against any community is a crime against all of us,” he said.
A series of shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area left eight dead, most of them women of Asian descent, raising fears that the killer had a racial motive.
The names of the victims have not yet been released, but police said six were Asian and all but one were female.
Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting, a 21-year-old white male from Georgia, and he is scheduled to hold a press conference this morning.
We will provide updates on the victims, the investigation, and the reaction to the shooting.
Catch up on the main story here:
And here’s a breakdown of what we know so far:
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism