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Suspect in Atlanta massage parlour shootings charged with eight counts of murder

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The suspect in the deadly shootings at three massage parlours in the US state of Georgia has been charged with eight counts of murder, authorities have revealed.

Four of the counts against 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long are related to shootings at two massage parlours in Atlanta. The other four are related to shootings at a massage parlour in Cherokee County.

Eight people, most of them women of Asian descent, were killed in Tuesday’s shootings.

Police arrested the Georgia man who they say has taken responsibility for the shootings, while denying they were racially motivated, although many of the victims were women of Asian descent.

Officials told reporters that Long, from Woodstock, said he was a frequent visitor to massage parlours and intended to “eliminate” the “temptation” he thought they posed.

They would not say whether sex took place at the parlours where the shootings occurred.

A police officer stands outside a massage parlor where three people were shot and killed

/ AFP via Getty Images

They said Long was acting alone and a 9mm handgun was found in his car when he was arrested, and he was planning to go to Florida to attack “some type of porn industry”.

Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said it was too early to say if it was hate crime, but many members of the Asian American community said they felt they had been targeted.

“We’re in a place where we’ve seen an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the pandemic started,” said Georgia state representative Bee Nguyen. “It’s hard to think it is not targeted specifically toward our community.”

“He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker told reporters.

The attacks began on Tuesday evening, when five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlour near Woodstock, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesman Captain Jay Baker said.

Two people died at the scene and three were taken to hospital where two more died, he said.

The Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44.

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