Spa killing spree leaves 8 women dead in metro Atlanta; suspect captured
By 11Alive.com staff
ATLANTA — Police arrested a suspect after eight people were killed in shootings at three separate massage parlors in the Atlanta area Tuesday, March 16. Now the FBI has joined the investigation.
Two spas were in Atlanta and one was in Cherokee County. Police said six of the eight victims were Asian women; Cherokee County officials confirmed to 11Alive there is one suspect for all of the shootings.
Four people were killed and one other was wounded at Young’s Asians Massage Parlor, on Highway 92 near Bells Ferry in Cherokee County, at around 5:00 p.m., officials said. When deputies got there, according to Capt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, they found two people who were dead inside, with three others still alive. Emergency crews rushed the three to the hospital, but two of them have since died. The identities of those who were killed have not yet been released, but officials described two as Asian women, one as a White woman and one as a White man. The person still hospitalized was a Hispanic man, officials said.
Shortly after, about 30 miles south, shootings at two Atlanta massage parlors that are across the street from each other on Piedmont Road near Cheshire Bridge left four dead. Atlanta Police said three people were killed at the Gold Spa. The fourth person was killed across the street at the Aromatherapy Spa. Those calls came in at 5:47 p.m. and 5:57 p.m., according to Atlanta Police Department’s call sheet. APD said it appears the four victims are all Asian women. Although the call came in as a robbery, interim Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said they are still investigating the motive.
Tuesday evening, Cherokee officials released surveillance pictures of Robert Aaron Long, 21 of Woodstock and asked the public for help locating him.
Spa killing suspect | Robert Long
Robert Aaron Long, 21, is suspected in eight killings at three different massage spas in metro Atlanta.
Just before 9:00 p.m., Cherokee officials said he was arrested in Crisp County, Georgia which is off I-75 in south Central Georgia, about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Officials told 11Alive’s Jon Shirek they used a PIT maneuver to stop his vehicle.
According to Capt. Baker, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds had information that Long was driving south on I-75, and was able to track Long. Baker said Sheriff Reynolds called Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock to alert him that Long was approaching Crisp County. Sheriff Hancock deployed his deputies, and they, along with Georgia State Patrol troopers, intercepted Long. That’s when a trooper used the PIT maneuver to stop Long.
Long is the lone suspect in both the shootings in Atlanta and Cherokee County, and according to Cherokee County officials, video surveillance at the Atlanta spas show the same man and car that the video shows at the Cherokee County spa.
Police have not discussed a possible motive, and they say it appears that nothing was stolen from any of the victims or locations. But investigators say they are looking into the possibility that the crimes were racially motivated, and that that is one aspect of an investigation that is just getting underway.
One group – Stop AAPI Hate – is already denounced the shooting.
“The reported shootings of multiple Asian American women today in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the Asian American community, which has been reeling from high levels of racist attacks over the course of the past year,” the group said in a statement. “This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian American community continues to endure.”
Atlanta Police said they have since stepped up patrols in the areas near the Piedmont shooting.