Suspect claims shootings not racially motivated, says he targeted spas due to sex addiction

Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The suspect in multiple spa shootings that killed eight people Tuesday told investigators the crimes were not racially motivated and that he blames the spas for his “addiction to sex.”

Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested just under four hours after allegedly firing his first round in Cherokee County.

Police said although Long gave no indication that the shootings were racially motivated, they are not completely ruling that out.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said investigators believe Long was on his way to Florida to commit similar acts when he was arrested. Police found a 9mm firearm inside of Long’s vehicle that they believe was used in all of the crimes.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office told CBS46, the area has only dealt with one homicide last year yet now they’re dealing with four, all in one day. Long is accused of firing into the Young Asian Massage Spa in Acworth before leaving to go wreak havoc in Atlanta.

“They did a pit maneuver on him, took him into custody as far as I know without incident,” Captain Baker confirmed.

The sheriff’s office said Crisp County worked with Georgia State Patrol to capture the 21-year-old from Woodstock around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The department also told CBS46 News early Wednesday morning that Long is in the custody of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives told CBS46 Long walked ‘in and out’ of massage spas Tuesday within minutes, changing eight lives and two communities forever in Acworth and Atlanta.

“It had me think you never know whether you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Adriana Nahjia continued, “It was all of a sudden, so many things racing through my mind.” Nahjia’s uncle is the sole survivor of the Cherokee County massage spa shooting. A GoFundMe has been established to help Elicias Hernandez Ortiz with his medical bills.

“He was at the store next door, buying a few items before heading home. He had just gotten off work.”

Two others died on scene, two more died in an area hospital.

In Acworth, two Asian women, one white woman, and one white male were killed. One Hispanic male remains hospitalized.

In Atlanta, four Asian women were killed at two massage spas. Police originally arrived to those scenes as robbery calls.

The following Cherokee County shooting victims have been identified:

Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth (deceased)

Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta (deceased)

Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw (deceased)

Daoyou Feng, 44, (deceased/unknown address)

Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth – (Injured)

Cherokee County’s Captain Baker said it appears that only massage parlors were being targeted and no other types of businesses. “Nothing is being ruled out, we’ll go where the investigation takes us,” Baker said.

Fulton County Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat issued this statement Wednesday:

Another tragic night of senseless violence rocked metro Atlanta. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims. We commend the efforts of local and federal law enforcement who quickly apprehended the suspect, who has been identified as Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock.

The magnitude of these events necessitates a thorough investigation and prosecution to the highest extent of the law. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is in constant contact with law enforcement agencies and stands ready to utilize any necessary resources to bring the perpetrator to justice.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation.