Tuesday, October 19

Suspect in Atlanta spa deaths faces eight murder charges

File image of a United States police officer consoling a victim.

File image of a United States police officer consoling a victim.

Robert Aaron Long, the man accused of the three shootings that left at least eight dead at night in a massage parlor and two spas in Atlanta, United States, has been accused this Wednesday of eight counts of murder. The 21-year-old from Woodstock, Georgia, specifically faces four charges related to the shootings at the two massage parlors in Atlanta and another four at the massage parlor in Cherokee County. Long, who has been held without bail, is also charged with a felony assault aggravated by the Cherokee shooting and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning, NBC reports.

Eight people, six of them Asian women – at least four of South Korean origin – died in the attacks on Tuesday and within an hour. The authorities have indicated that the suspect has told investigators that had a sexual addiction and viewed business as a temptation that needed to be eliminated. “We believe that he frequented these places in the past,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds, adding that a racial issue “did not appear to be the motive” for the attack.

In this regard, the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has lamented the events and has stressed that “a crime against any community is a crime against all.” Likewise, regarding whether the companies attacked had any link to sex work, he has assured that they “operated legally” and has called “not to blame the victims.”

Responsibility for Trump’s “harmful rhetoric”

In the context of this event, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the “harmful rhetoric” of former President Donald Trump has contributed to the discrimination of Asian Americans. “There is no doubt that part of the harmful rhetoric that we saw during the previous Administration, how to call covid-19 the ‘Wuhan virus’ or other things, led to perceptions from the Asian-American community that are inaccurate and unfair (…). And they have increased the threats against the Americans of Asian origin, has lamented in a press conference.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has denounced, for his part, the “brutality” of which the Asian community is being the victim with greater assiduity in recent months and has advanced that although the motivation for the shootings is not yet known The truth is that “the Asian American community is very concerned.” Likewise, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, has described what happened as “tragic” and has indicated that this type of episodes highlights one of the great problems that the United States drags, violence, and like Biden has asked wait for the investigation that is already underway to find out the true motivations for these attacks.

The FBI and the rest of the United States police authorities have alerted of a drastic increase in attacks against the Asian community in the country since the coronavirus health crisis broke out, especially against women. The NGO Stop AAPI Hate, which examines hate crimes against the Asian community, recalled that in just one year almost 3,800 incidents have been recorded and that it is precisely women who suffer disproportionately from these attacks.


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