Surveillance video shows suspect in Atlanta killings leaving spa where first shootings took place

Surveillance video released Friday shows the suspect in the Atlanta killings leaving the spa where the first shootings are believed to have taken place.

The video, obtained by the Associated Press, shows Robert Aaron Long leaving Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia, 30 minutes north of Atlanta, and getting into his vehicle.

Four people were fatally shot at the location and another person wounded. Four others were killed at two other spa locations in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims killed were Asian women.

Other video footage, obtained by the Washington Post, indicates Long, 21, spent an hour outside Young’s before entering the spa. An hour and 12 minutes later, he is seen exiting the location and getting into his car before police arrive, the newspaper said.

More details about the suspect have been emerging. Records released to USA TODAY on Friday indicated that Long had been kicked out of his parents’ home the day before the shooting and was “emotional.”

Long had also been recently furloughed from his job at a trade show business due to COVID-19, the report said, and he had been disowned by his church.

Atlanta police said they had yet to determine a motive and that it was too soon to say whether the suspect “specifically targeted” victims. On Wednesday, police said that Long had indicated he committed the shootings because of a sex addiction. 

However, experts have said the killings are inextricably connected to racism and hate. The shooting comes amid a recent spike in incidents of hate, discrimination and violence against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by racist rhetoric by politicians, said Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks such incidents.

The events Tuesday began late that afternoon, when authorities say Long first opened fire at Young’s before driving 30 miles into Atlanta and killing four more people at two businesses, Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. Police believe he was headed to Florida, where he meant to target additional spas, when he was taken into custody about 150 miles south of Atlanta.

Those killed Tuesday were Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51, whom family members identified by her maiden name, Hyun Jung Kim; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Xiaojie Tan, 49, who owned Young’s.

Federal investigators so far have not found evidence that clears the high bar for federal hate crime charges against Long, the Associated Press reported, citing two law enforcement officials. 

The tragedy has prompted an outpouring of community support. A march to honor the victims was planned early Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, while a GoFundMe campaign to help the family of one of the victims, a single mom of two, had raised nearly $2.3 million as of Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, in cities from Phoenix to Milwaukee to Philadelphia, communities have been gathering this week to publicly mourn the victims. Another series of candlelight vigils were expected to be held Friday evening

Who were the victims? What we know about the 8 people killed in the Atlanta area spa shootings

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