ATLANTA, GA – A suspect connected with shootings at three Atlanta-area spas Tuesday evening is in custody; he left 8 people dead, according to officials. The shootings began at 5 p.m. when Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, allegedly walked into a massage parlor in Acworth, a suburb north of Atlanta, and shot five people; two died at the scene, and another two died later at a local area hospital, officials say.
Long then allegedly drove 30 miles in 45 minutes to a spa in Atlanta and shot and killed three women; he then went to an aromatherapy spa across the street and shot and killed another woman, police say.
Once police confirmed that the incidents were related, officials released photos of Long from surveillance cameras captured from the location of the Acworth shooting; within hours he was spotted that evening traveling southbound on I-75 in Crisp County, about 125 miles south of Atlanta. Officers utilized a PIT maneuver – a pursuit technique where a police car can cause another vehicle to spin out and come to a stop – to end the chase and take Long into custody.
Six of Long’s alleged victims were Asian, leading authorities to investigate the shootings as possible hate crime, according to officials. Since his arrest Long has reportedly confessed to the crime, and additional reports indicate that he may have also frequented some of the spas in question in the past.
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In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that “a crime against any community is a crime against us all.”
“I commend law enforcement for their quick work in arresting a suspect in the tragic shootings,” she said. “I have remained in close contact with the White House and APD as they work with federal, state and local partners to investigate the suspect who is responsible for this senseless violence in our city.”
In a press conference today, Atlanta area officials say the suspect claimed the shootings were not racially motivated but based on his temptations with a sex addiction.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker noted that this level of violence was unheard of in this area.
“This is not very common for us. In 2020, we had one homicide,” he said.