Eight people were shot to death at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday evening, the authorities said, raising fears that the crimes may have targeted people of Asian descent.
Six of the people killed were Asian, and two were white, according to law enforcement officials. All but one were women.
A suspect, identified as Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Ga., was captured in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta, after a manhunt, said the authorities, who had earlier released a surveillance image of a suspect near a Hyundai Tucson outside one of the massage parlors.
The motive for the killings was unclear, though the Atlanta police initially characterized the shooting at one of the parlors in the city as a robbery in progress. Officials did not say what type of gun had been used in the shooting.
The suspect in custody is white, and it was not clear whether there was a racial motivation in the shootings. Even so, Stop AAPI Hate, formed to prevent anti-Asian discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic, called the shootings “an unspeakable tragedy” for both the victims’ families and an Asian-American community that has “been reeling from high levels of racist attacks.”
Four people died in the first shooting, at Young’s Asian Massage near Acworth, a northwest suburb of Atlanta, said Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. That shooting, in which a Hispanic man was injured, was reported around 5 p.m.