On Tuesday, March 16th, a 21-year-old man by the name of Robert Aaron Long opened fired a weapon into a total of 3 massage parlors. He has been charged with both murder and assault. He killed eight people, six of who were of Asian descent, including four who were Korean. Aaron is currently in police custody and as of last Thursday police stated that he, “frequented the two spas in Atlanta: Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa...the shooter told authorities he was not motivated by race [but] rather a sex addiction.”
However, experts have said that the killings are inextricably connected to racism and hate. According to USA Today, "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” that has been thrown around in the media. This precedent led people to believe that this event was a hate crime rather than a solution to “preventing sexual temptation.”
On Wednesday, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office released four of the victims' names, those killed at Young’s Asian Massage were Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. A 30-year-old Hispanic man was also injured during the attack. What we know so far about them is Hyun Jung Grant was working in the parlor to provide for her two boys at home, Xiaojie Tan also worked in the parlor and is the mother to a daughter, Delaina Ashley Yaun went to the spa for a date with her husband and she was the mother of a 13-year-old son and an 8-month-old daughter, Paul Andre Michels was interested in owning a spa with his wife Bonnie in the future and his brother reported that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Elcias Hernandez Ortiz survived the shooting but was hospitalized and needed surgery to remove the bullet from his abdomen.
As for the remaining victims, little has been released about them other than the names and ages of Daoyou Feng 44, Soon C. Park 74, and Suncha Kim 69. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said that regardless of the motive, the tragedy was clear, “whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that the majority of the victims were Asian. We also know that this is an issue that is happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful and it has to stop.” This was a tragic event, but shootings such as this one tend to have negative repercussions for law-abiding gun owners, the full repercussions have not yet come to fruition but are coming soon.