Saturday, October 16

What We Know About The Atlanta Shooting Suspect

(CNN) — State and federal investigators are seeking more information on Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in a series of Deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area Asian spas, and their supposed motive.

Not much information has emerged about the 21-year-old from Woodstock, about a half-hour drive north of Atlanta.

He is currently being held without bond in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder and one count of aggravated battery, according to the county sheriff’s office. More charges may be filed.

The shootings Tuesday took place at two massage parlors in Atlanta and another in Acworth, about 10 miles west of Woodstock, that left eight people dead, including at least four Asian women.

Robert Aaron Long

Robert Aaron Long, a suspect in the Atlanta spa shootings.

The four fatalities in the shooting near Woodstock were Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Yan, 49, of Kennesaw, and Daoyou Feng, 44.

The injured survivor was Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, it was reported.

Authorities located Robert Aaron Long about 150 miles south of Atlanta in Crisp County. State police detained him after using a special pursuit maneuver to spin his car out of control.

The suspect “claimed responsibility for the shooting,” said Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert Aaron Long had been treated for sexual addiction

Sheriff Frank Reynolds of Cherokee County, where the Acworth shootings occurred, told reporters that Long “gave signs that he has some problems, potentially a sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past.”

Reynolds said those problems could be the motivation behind the shooting.

A law enforcement source said the suspect was recently kicked out of the home by his family due to his sexual addiction, which, according to the source, included spending hours on end viewing pornography online.

According to an incident report from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, a person who called 911 said the suspect could be his son and that he had “a tracker on his phone.” Another person who called 911 anonymously told the dispatch that the suspect was “kicked out of his parents’ home last night,” adding that he “was emotional,” the incident report says.

It is unclear if the businesses affected were sex work places. During a news conference Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the companies were “operating legally” and had not previously been on the Atlanta Police Department’s radar.

We’re not going to get into blaming the victim, embarrassing the victim, here. As far as we know in Atlanta, we have not received any 911 calls from that location. I think a minor case call about someone who stole keys, ”Bottoms said. “So we don’t know any additional information about what their motives were, but we certainly won’t start blaming the victims.”

Tyler Bayless said he shared a living unit with Robert Aaron Long at Maverick Recovery, a rehab center in Roswell, Georgia, between August 2019 and January or February 2020. He said most of the residents suffered from drug addiction or alcohol, but Long was being treated for a sex addiction.

“It was something that totally tortured him,” Bayless said. He said Long was a “deeply religious person; he often went off on a tangent about his interpretation of the Bible ”and was distraught over his addiction to sex.

Bayless said that on multiple occasions during her stay at the facility, Long told her that she had “relapsed” and “had explicitly gone to massage parlors to engage in sexual acts.”

After hearing that Long was the suspect in the shooting, Bayless said he was surprised his former roommate did such a thing.

Mason Clements, who is listed as the registered agent for Maverick Recovery in the business filings, said in a text message that he could not “comment on any past, present or future clients due to confidentiality agreements.”

Another former roommate of Long’s also told CNN that the suspect had been in rehab for sex addiction, and that in the summer of 2020 he had lived with Long in a transitional home for people coming out of rehab, though he declined to name the facility or disclose the state where it is located. He said he hadn’t spoken to Long “in a long time.”

He recognized Robert Aaron Long from surveillance footage released by authorities, he said, and Cherokee County dispatch records indicate the former roommate called police Tuesday night.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to CNN that they removed an Instagram account that the company believed was linked to Long.

The account had been inactive for some time, the spokesperson said.

A screenshot of the account, obtained by CNN, showed him using the name “Aaron Long” and the title of the biography section read: “Pizza, Guns, Drums, Music, Family and God.” This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.

Basketball players react to Atlanta massacre 1:06

Robert Aaron Long told police the shooting was “not racially motivated,” according to Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Baker also referenced Long’s “sex addiction,” saying the suspect views spas as a “temptation” that he “wanted to eliminate.”

According to two police sources involved in the investigation, Long tried to justify his actions when he told police that he was thinking about committing suicide, but decided to “help” other people with sexual addictions by targeting spas.

Investigators believe Long may have been on his way to Florida to carry out more shootings when he was captured, Lance Bottoms told reporters.

The gun was legally purchased

Robert Aaron Long had a 9mm firearm in his car when he was arrested, Baker said.

He bought his gun legally from a local gun store, Big Woods Goods in Holly Springs, Georgia, a company attorney confirmed to CNN.

In a brief statement to CNN, Matt Kilgo said Tuesday that the company is fully cooperating with law enforcement and there is no indication that there is anything wrong with the transfer.

It was Long’s family who turned him over on Tuesday, Reynolds said, noting that the parents called police after seeing surveillance footage that authorities posted on social media.

“We were contacted by family members stating that it could be their son, so we met with them,” Reynolds said. “They were very distressed and were of great help in this apprehension.”

Once investigators identified Robert Aaron Long, the sheriff said, they tracked his phone and anticipated his movements, leading to his arrest in Crisp County.

CNN went to Long’s grandparents’ home in Morristown, Tennessee, on Wednesday.

“All I want to say is that he is our grandson and we still love him very much,” said Long’s grandmother, Margaret Long, who was visibly upset. Long’s grandfather interrupted the conversation, saying that they had been told not to speak to anyone and made no further comment.

In his mugshot, Long is wearing a suicide prevention suit as a precautionary measure, which is common, Crisp County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Haley Little said.

CNN’s Matt Gannon, Julia Griggs, Gregory Lemos, Jamiel Lynch, and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

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