Atlanta shootings: Asian women among eight killed at three spas

Eight people, many of them women of Asian descent, have been killed in shootings at spas in the US state of Georgia.

Police said the shootings took place at a massage parlour in Acworth, a suburb north of Atlanta, and two spas in the city itself.

South Korea later confirmed that four of the victims were of Korean descent.

Officials said a 21-year-old man had been arrested and was believed to be the suspect in all of the attacks.

No motive has yet been established.

However, hate crimes against Asian-Americans have spiked in recent months, fuelled by rhetoric that blames them for the spread of Covid-19.

In an address last week, President Joe Biden condemned “vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.”

The first shooting happened at about 17:00 (21:00 GMT) on Tuesday at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, Cherokee County.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Capt Jay Baker said two people died at the scene and three were taken to hospital, where two more died. He later confirmed that the victims were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, and that a Hispanic man had been wounded.

Less than an hour later, police were called to a “robbery in progress” at Gold Spa in north-east Atlanta.

“Upon arrival, officers located three females deceased inside the location from apparent gunshot wounds,” police said in a statement.

While there, officers were called to a spa across the street, called Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another woman shot dead.

Police quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that all four Atlanta victims were Asian women.

Investigators who had studied CCTV footage then released images of a suspect near one of the spas. Police said that, after a manhunt, Robert Aaron Long, of Woodstock, Georgia, was arrested in Crisp County, about 150 miles (240km) south of Atlanta.

  

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