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In the space of about an hour, 8 people were killed at 3 Atlanta-area spas. One person is in custody

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The bloody attacks, which lasted about an hour, took place in two halls in northeastern Atlanta and one about 30 miles northwest of the city in Cherokee County.

Police believe a 21-year-old suspect arrested on Tuesday night was responsible for the three attacks.

Authorities have not identified the victims as they work to notify the closest relatives. But four were described Wednesday by the South Korean Foreign Ministry as being of Korean ethnicity.

Earlier, Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant said at least four of the victims were women and looked Asian.

Among the many questions left in the case, authorities are still investigating the motives behind the shootings. But the details of how the horror unfolded are becoming increasingly clear.

How the shots unfolded

Although they stretched for 30 miles, the attacks occurred quickly.

On Tuesday around 5 p.m., lawmakers were called to Young’s Asian massage near Acworth, Georgia, to learn of a shooting, Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesman Jay Baker said.

Deputies who responded found five people with gunshots. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene and three were taken to a hospital, where two died, Baker said.

About an hour later and 30 miles away, Atlanta police responded to what was described as a robbery at the Gold Massage Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. Police say they found three people dead.

While there, police received another shooting call on Aroma Therapy Spa Street, where they found a dead person, Bryant said.

Authorities in the area, known as Zone 2 in Atlanta, said patrols were increasing around similar businesses and FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said the agency was helping with the investigations.

This reserve photo released by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office on March 16, 2021 shows shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21.

The suspect

Around 8 p.m., a highway patrol about 150 miles south of the city was alerted that a Cherokee County shooting suspect was heading for the road, said Sheriff Frank Reynolds in a video on the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

After detecting his vehicle, there was a chase on Interstate 75 and a state soldier performed a maneuver that left the SUV out of control.

“The suspect was arrested without incident … and taken to Crisp County Jail,” the official said.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office identified him as Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock.

Police believe Long is also responsible for the shootings in Atlanta, the Atlanta police department said in a press release.

“Video footage from our Video Integration Center locates the Cherokee County suspect’s vehicle in the area, around the Piedmont Road shootings,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a press release. “This, along with video evidence seen by investigators, suggests that our suspect is very likely to be the same as the one in Cherokee County, who is under arrest. That’s why an APD investigator is in Cherokee County. and we are working closely with them to confirm with certainty that our cases are related. “

A shaken community

Asian Americans reported being targeted at least 500 times in the past two months
It is still unclear whether the violence was motivated by hatred, but the incident shows that more needs to be done to protect Asian Americans, Atura AAPI Hate said the organization in a statement

“The shooting of several Asian American women today in Atlanta is an indescribable tragedy, especially for the families of the victims, but also for the Asian American community, which has been subjected to high levels of racist attacks throughout from last year, ”he said. “This latest attack will only aggravate the fear and pain that the American Asian community continues to endure.”

In response to nationwide violence against Asian Americans, Seattle officials have increased outreach to community organizations and added a greater presence of police patrols, according to Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and police chief Adrian Diaz, in a statement after Tuesday’s attacks.

Office of Terrorism of the New York Police Department he said on Twitter that he will also deploy additional officers to protect the city’s Asian communities “with great caution.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson condemned the shooting “in the strongest possible terms.”

CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Raja Razek, Jamiel Lynch and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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