ATLANTA – The 22-year-old man accused of opening fire at three Atlanta-area spas in March, killing eight people including six women of Asian descent, has been indicted on murder charges in the shootings.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted Robert Aaron Long on murder charges connected to the March 16 killings of Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63; at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta, according to The Associated Press.
The indictment charges Long with four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of domestic terrorism.
A separate grand jury in Cherokee County also handed up an indictment against Long on Tuesday in the killings of Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54; at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor. Long faces four counts of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, 11 counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and first-degree criminal damage to property in that county.
In a notice filed in court, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty against Long, despite previously saying that she would not seek the death penalty against suspects as the county’s district attorney, according to the AP.
Authorities said Long first opened fire March 16 on five people at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor, two of which died at the scene and two of which died at a hospital. An hour later, police responding to a call about a robbery found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. While there, officers learned of a call reporting shots fired at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa. There, authorities said they found a woman who had been shot dead.
Authorities arrested Long in Crisp County on the night of the shootings.
The killings were reported as the U.S. experiences a spike in reported hate crimes against Asians and people of Asian descent, though Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds previously said Long claimed the attacks were not motivated by the victims’ races. Those killed included six women of Asian descent, a white woman and a white man.
Reynolds said Long had a “potential sexual addiction” which might have played a role in the crime. Sheriff’s office Capt. Jay Baker, who faced criticism after saying that Long was “having a bad day” when he decided to open fire on March 16, said Long viewed the businesses as “a temptation to him that he wanted to eliminate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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