Atlanta-area spa shootings: Police still working to notify victim families

Atlanta police on Thursday shared new details in the investigation of two spa shootings that took place along Piedmont Road NE earlier this week.

"We are not done," said Deputy Chief Charles Hampton, Jr., Atlanta Police Department.

During a press conference on Thursday, APD spokesperson said the confessed gunman, Rober Aaron Long had frequented both locations in the past and that he had bought the gun that day.

"I can say he frequented both those locations, yes," Deputy Chief Hampton said adding that he cannot comment on if any individuals inside the businesses were specifically targeted.

The spokesperson also stated that "nothing is off the table" in relation to potential future charges against Long.

"We are looking at everything to make sure we discover and determine what the motive of our homicides were," Hampton said.

Hampton said they still have not been able to notify family members of some of the victims from Tuesday's deadly shootings at two spas along Piedmont Road. Authorities said they were working diligently to make sure the right people are notified.

Police also said they will not be giving too many details about the case or comment on what others have said about it adding that they do not want to try the case in the public. 

"This is a tragedy. And again, we have to remember eight families are impacted by this," Hampton said. "And we wouldn't be doing justice by putting a lot of information out in the public, especially, in our cases, where the next of kin has not been notified."

Long, 21, was charged Wednesday with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors after he was forced to stop by troopers while driving toward Florida.

Long told police that Tuesday’s attack was not racially motivated. He claimed to have a "sex addiction," and authorities said he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation. But those statements spurred outrage and widespread skepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.

"Our investigation is separate from Cherokee County's investigation. Our investigation is slightly different," the deputy chief said.


Robert Aaron Long

RELATED: Atlanta shooting suspect Robert Long: What to know

Police in Cherokee released the names of the victims in the first shooting. Police said 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun, 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels, 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan and 44-year-old Daoyou Feng all died. Elcias R. Hernandez-Oritiz, a 30-year-old Acworth resident, was injured.

A GoFundMe for the family of one of the Atlanta victims, identified as Hyun Jung Grant, has been set up to help her sons pay for rent and funeral expenses.

Timeline of events in the spa shootings around Atlanta

Officials said Cherokee County deputies were dispatched to the spa at 6468 Highway 92 in Acworth shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Deputies saw five gunshot victims. Authorities said two were already dead and three were injured and transported to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. Two of the victims transported to the hospital died from their injuries, authorities said.


Youngs Asian Massage

A short time later in Atlanta, police responded to a call about a robbery and found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa near Atlanta’s Buckhead area, where tattoo parlors and strip clubs are just blocks away from mansions and skyscrapers in one of the last ungentrified holdouts in that part of the city. While investigating, officers then learned of a call reporting shots fired across the street, at Aromatherapy Spa, and found another woman apparently shot dead.


Police investigate a shooting in the 1900 block of Piedmont Road on March 16, 2021. (FOX 5)

Law enforcement officials said Wednesday they were not aware of any illegal activity occurring at any of the establishments.

Officers were able to track Long's phone to coordinate with Georgia State Patrol and intercept him. Authorities in Crisp County apprehended Long about 180 miles south of the two Atlanta shootings. A 9mm firearm was located in the vehicle.

Long made a comment that he was heading to Florida to commit similar acts in that state.

Concerns of anti-Asian violence

The shootings caused outrage across the country as Asian American organizations nationwide organized events aimed at showing unity.

Hundreds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders turned to social media to air their anger, sadness, fear and hopelessness. The hashtag #StopAsianHate was a top trending topic on Twitter hours after the shootings.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden ordered the American flags at the White House and all public buildings lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the deadly spa shootings.

Georgia sheriff's spokesperson under criticism for comments and Facebook post

Further controversy has come out as a result of the shooting. Cherokee County sheriff’s office spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, who is helping to investigate the recent massage parlor slayings, has come under fire for comments made during the a press conference and a past Facebook post


Capt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office in Georgia.

The Facebook post, which appeared to have been made on Baker's personal Facebook but have now since been deleted, promoted a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus last year.

Baker also came under criticism for saying Wednesday that the 21-year-old man accused of carrying out the massacres had had a "bad day."

SEE MORE: #StopAsianHate: Asian Americans grieve, organize in wake of Atlanta attacks


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