“Only this fact highlights the vulnerability, invisibility and isolation of working class Asian women in our country,” Nguyen said at a news conference on Thursday.
“When they disappear or die, the loss of life will not incite the same kind of anger. And they will not even be treated with the same humanity,” he said.
“And in this case, they have been characterized as a problem that needed to be eliminated.”
Authorities have yet to confirm the motive for the shootings at three Atlanta resorts, which killed eight people, including six Asian women. A suspect is in custody.
Atlanta Deputy Chief of Police Charles Hampton Jr. said Wednesday that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, frequented the two Atlanta spas and bought the weapon used in the shooting on the day of the incident.
President Joe Biden ordered flags to be hoisted at half-staff on Thursday to honor the victims. Biden also plans to visit Atlanta on Friday to meet with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, as well as Asian American and Pacific Island leaders, according to Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen.
Among the issues they will address is concern that the shootings be “taken seriously” and taken seriously as a hate crime against Asians and not dismissed as a suspect who has a “bad day,” Nguyen said.
Traits are part of hostility towards Asian Americans
“I think that took him to another extreme,” said Hanna Kim, a professor in Novi, Michigan.
“I think culturally we’re not a people who talk and talk about being victims and I think that’s something we learn” from previous generations, Liu said.
Bottoms told CNN today “now it looks like there’s permission to be hateful.” He has spent the last few days contacting members of the Asian community in Atlanta “to make sure we have all the information we need to make sure our communities are protected,” adding that the dialogue will continue.
“There seems to be a permit I haven’t seen, at least in my life,” Bottoms said. “He predates Donald Trump, but he has certainly given permission and done his part to raise hatred.”
Kim, a 24-year-old Korean American, said she often feels she has a target on her back. Last year he said a parent wanted to take one of his students out of second grade because Kim was Asian.
“Will people tell me things?” Kim said she often wonders. “Will people avoid me because they think for some reason I’ll be the one to spread the virus?”
Still, despite outrage over the shootings, attacks on Asian Americans continue.
“Although we are relieved, the suspect was quickly arrested, we are certainly not at peace, as this attack still points to a threat that is increasingly felt in the Asian American community,” said Margaret Huang, president and general manager of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
What we know about the victims
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were fatally shot at Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County.
Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, was also shot at the spa but survived.
Three more victims were found dead at the Gold Massage Spa in Atlanta and another victim was found dead on Aroma Therapy Spa Street.
The names of these four victims have not yet been released by authorities.
Three of the victims were 52, 75 and 64 years old, according to the years of birth listed in an Atlanta police incident report.
“We need to make sure we have a true verification of their identities and that we do the proper notification of the closest relatives,” Hampton said Wednesday.
What we know about the suspect
Long was on his way to Florida, possibly to end the lives of more victims, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, citing investigators.
The suspect told police he believed he had a sex addiction and saw the spas as “a temptation … that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker said.
But Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant said it’s still too early to know a reason.
It is unclear whether any of the three companies offered sexual services in addition to massages. But authorities have given no indication that the three businesses were operating illegally.
Captain Jay Baker said Tuesday that Long “was almost fed up and had been a bit at the end of the rope. Yesterday was a very bad day for him, and that’s what he did.”
Baker is no longer the spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office case investigating the shooting at the spa, the sheriff’s office confirmed to CNN.
CNN has contacted Baker to comment.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Thursday in a statement that he had known and worked with Baker for many years and that his comments “were not intended to disrespect any of the victims, nor the seriousness of this tragedy, nor to express empathy or sympathy for the suspect “.
How the attacks unfolded
Shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, deputies were called to Youngs’ Asian massage between the cities of Georgia, Woodstock and Acworth, following reports of a shooting, Cherokee County sheriff’s officials said. .
That shooting left four people (two Asians and two whites) dead and one person injured, Baker said.
About an hour later and 30 miles away, Atlanta police responded to the Gold Massage Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. Police said 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.
The names of these four victims have not yet been released by authorities.
Investigators found a surveillance video of a suspect near the Cherokee County scene and posted pictures on social media.
“(Family members) are very distressed and were very helpful in this apprehension,” Reynolds said.
“It would be appropriate” for the suspect to be charged with a hate crime, according to the mayor
Long has claimed responsibility for the shootings at spas, the Cherokee County sheriff’s office said.
According to the county sheriff’s office, he faces four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. He has also been charged with four counts of murder, the Atlanta police department said.
A law enforcement source told CNN that Long was recently evicted from his family because of his sexual addiction, which, according to the source, included spending many hours watching pornography online.
“It seemed like a hate crime to me,” he said. “This was addressed to Asian spas. Six of the women who died were Asian, so it’s hard to see it as anything less than that.”
The shootings must not have racial grounds to constitute a hate crime in Georgia.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace issued a statement Thursday saying “we are very aware of the feelings of terror being experienced in the Asian-American community.”
“We hear your concerns and want it to be known that these victims will receive the best efforts from this office,” Wallace said. “We plan to begin meeting with the affected families in the near future and gain our trust, as we continue to develop our case against the defendant.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Xiaojie Tan’s last name based on information provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
CNN’s Amanda Watts, Stephen Collinson, Audrey Ash, Casey Tolan, Nicquel Ellis, Nicole Chavez, Artemis Moshtaghian, Raja Razek, Jamiel Lynch, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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