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Robert Long, suspect in Atlanta spa shootings, may have ‘sex addiction,’ police say

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

He is currently being held without bail in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, according to the county sheriff’s office. There are more possible charges.

After Tuesday’s shooting at two spas in Atlanta and another in Acworth, about 10 miles west of Woodstock – which left eight people, at least four of them Asian, dead – authorities located Long in about 150 miles south of Atlanta, in Crisp County. . State police arrested him after using a special chase maneuver to turn the car out of control.

The suspect “took responsibility for the shootings,” said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Frank Reynolds, in Cherokee County, where the shootings took place in Acworth, told reporters that Long “made indications that he had some problems (potentially sexual addiction) and that he may have frequented some of these places in the past “.

The suspect “may have been an attacker,” the sheriff said.

Tyler Bayless said he shared a housing unit with Long at Maverick Recovery, a rehabilitation facility in Roswell, Georgia, between August 2019 and January or February 2020. He said most residents suffered drug or alcohol addiction, but Long was treated for sex addiction.

“It was something that would absolutely torture him,” Bayless said. He said Long was a “deeply religious person: he often continued to feel tangents about his interpretation of the Bible” and was concerned about his sex addiction.

Bayless said that on several occasions during his stay at the facility, Long told him he had “relapsed” and that he had “explicitly gone to massages to have sex.”

He said he did not know if Long had specifically gone to any of the spas where he allegedly killed eight people Tuesday night.

Bayless, who has never talked about recovery facilities for a long time, said he had never heard him say anything derogatory about Asian people.

After hearing Long as a suspect in the shootings, Bayless said he was surprised his former roommate did such a thing. It was weird to think of “what a quiet, quiet, friendly, nice man he was,” Bayless said.

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

Another former Long roommate also told CNN that Long 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 leaving rehab, despite who refused to name the facility or disclose the state in which it is located. located. He said he had not spoken to Long “in a long time.”

Long acknowledged from surveillance footage released by authorities, he said, and Cherokee County shipping records indicate the former roommate called police Tuesday night.

The former roommate “never heard (Long) say anything racial,” he told CNN.

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

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

A screenshot of the account, obtained by CNN, showed that he used the name “Aaron Long” and the caption of the bio section said, “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family and God. That pretty much sums up my life. pretty good life “.

Long told police the shots were “not racially motivated,” according to Baker, of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Baker also referred to Long’s “sexual addiction”, saying Long sees spas as a “temptation” that he “wanted to eliminate.”

Investigators believe that when he was captured, Long may have been en route to Florida to perpetrate more shootings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told reporters.

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

Long legally bought the gun at a local gun store, Big Woods Goods in Holly Springs, Georgia, a company lawyer confirmed to CNN.

In a brief statement to CNN, Matt Kilgo said the company is fully cooperating with law enforcement and there are no indications that there was anything inappropriate with the transfer on Tuesday.

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

“Family members contacted us indicating that it may be their son, so we met with them,” Reynolds said. “They were very distressed and were very helpful in this apprehension.”

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

In her cup, Long wears a suicide prevention suit as a precautionary measure, which is common, said Haley Little, a spokeswoman for the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office.

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

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