The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Cherokee Sheriff’s OfficeATLANTA—A Georgia man who professed a ardour for weapons and God was in custody on Tuesday night time after a string of shootings that police mentioned appeared to focus on Asian girls at therapeutic massage parlors and left eight individuals useless.Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, was caught on video on the crime scenes and later nabbed on a freeway two hours south of Atlanta following a police chase, authorities mentioned.Police careworn that it was nonetheless a lot too early to announce a motive, however the horrific assaults come amid a wave of focused violence in opposition to the Asian-American neighborhood. Details concerning the suspect that started to trickle out provided few clues.“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life,” learn the tagline on an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long.A scholar who graduated from Sequoyah High with Long in 2017 who spoke on the situation of anonymity informed The Daily Beast, “He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.” Shootings at two therapeutic massage parlors in Atlanta and one within the suburbs have left a number of individuals useless, a lot of them girls of Asian descent, authorities mentioned Tuesday. Brynn Anderson/AP The rampage started at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth in Cherokee County, the place two individuals had been killed, one different particular person succumbed to their accidents en path to a close-by hospital, and one died whereas in therapy, based on the sheriff’s workplace. The victims had been two Asian girls, a white girl, and a white man, based on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A Hispanic man was additionally injured within the taking pictures and was rushed to a hospital for medical therapy, a spokesman for the sheriff mentioned. About an hour later and 30 miles away, two spas on the identical Atlanta road—Gold Spa and one in Aroma Therapy Spa—had been focused by gunfire, and 4 Asian girls had been killed.Officers had simply arrived at one of many spas to search out the victims after they had been summoned to the second. “While at [the first location] we received another call across the street of shots fired, and responded to find another individual shot at that location,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney N. Bryant informed reporters.While no particulars concerning the Acworth victims got, Bryant mentioned that “it appears that all the [Atlanta] victims are female” and “it appears that they may be Asian.”Two males who dwell simply throughout from Gold Massage Spa who refused to provide their names mentioned their neighbors began asking them concerning the incident round 6:15 p.m. They mentioned the world was very various, however that the spa was identified to be an Asian-owned enterprise.“This is the worst taking pictures since ‘99 I think,” one of the men told The Daily Beast. “There was a shooting then where a guy went through his office and killed a bunch of people and he killed his family. That was 12 people I think, so this is the worst one since I’ve been right here.”Bryant has declined to say whether or not police imagine the shootings in Georgia Tuesday amounted to a hate crime, saying, “We can’t make that determination just yet.” Law enforcement officers confer outdoors a therapeutic massage parlor following a taking pictures on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Atlanta. Brynn Anderson/AP Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Capt. Jay Baker informed reporters: “Nothing is going to be ruled out. Wherever the investigation leads us, that’s where we are going to go.” Atlanta police mentioned video surveillance of Long’s automobile in any respect three therapeutic massage parlors captured Tuesday night time made it “extremely likely” he was the principle suspect in all three shootings. Crisp County Sheriff’s Office President Joe Biden just lately condemned the surge in crimes of hate, which have included a brazen, lethal assault on an 84-year-old from Thailand who was killed on a morning stroll within the San Francisco Bay Area. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), in providing condolences to the households of the victims of the Atlanta shootings on Tuesday night time, famous that “many of the victims are Asian.”“These murders occurred at a time when anti-Asian violence has been spiking. All officials should do their part to condemn violence and not inflame further discrimination,” he tweeted.The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus mentioned it was “horrified” by information of the taking pictures “at a time when we’re already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence.”The authorized advocacy nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta launched an announcement saying the group was “shaken” by the shootings. “Now is the time to hold the victims and their families in our hearts and with light.”In testimony to the Georgia State Senate the day earlier than the shootings, Michelle Au, a Democratic state senator representing Johns Creek, GA, mentioned, “In the last year, 32 incidents of hate crimes towards our Asian-American and Pacific Islander community here in Atlanta have been reported…. Recognize that we need help, we need protection, and we need people in power to stand up for us against hate.”Baker mentioned that Long was arrested by Crisp County Sheriff’s officers who carried out a PIT maneuver, or a pursuit intervention method, during which police pressure one other automobile to plow sideways and cease.Long’s household didn’t reply to requires remark. His youth pastor on the Crabapple First Baptist Church confirmed he was the suspect and mentioned elders could be releasing an announcement.A 2018 video on the Crabapple Facebook web page options Long discussing his Christian journey towards baptism. “As many of you may remember, when I was 8 years old I thought I was becoming a Christian, and got baptized during that time. And I remember a lot of the reason for that is a lot of my friends in my Sunday school class were doing that,” Long says within the clip.“And after that time, there wasn’t any fruit from the root that is our salvation.”He goes on to say that when he was in seventh grade he attended a youth group and a speaker was discussing the biblical story of the prodigal son.“The son goes off and squanders all that he has and lives completely for himself and then, when he finds he’s wanting to eat pig food, he realized there’s something wrong and he goes back to his father and his father runs back to him and embraces him. And by the grace of God I was able to draw the connection there and realize this is a story between what happened with me and God. I ran away living completely for myself, and he still wants me, and so that’s when I was saved.”—with reporting by Rachel OldingRead extra at The Daily Beast.Get our high tales in your inbox daily. 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