Suspect in Atlanta-area spa shootings might have intended more shootings in Florida, mayor says

This booking photo released by the Crisp County Sheriff's Office on March 16, 2021 shows 21-year-old shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed notice that she plans to seek the death penalty and enhanced hate crimes charges against Atlanta spa shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long, according to a source familiar with the criminal investigation. 

Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, is suspected of opening fire at the spas on the afternoon and early evening of March 16, first at a business about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, followed by two more at spas in northeastern Atlanta.

He was arrested the night of the shootings about 150 miles south of Atlanta, in a traffic stop on Interstate 75, authorities said.

After his arrest, Long told investigators he believed he had a sex addiction and "an issue with porn," and claimed to see the spas as "a temptation ... that he wanted to eliminate," Cherokee County sheriff's Capt. Jay Baker said at the time.

He was initially charged in Cherokee County on four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, according to the sheriff's office. He also faced four counts of murder in Atlanta, according to city police.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on March 16, deputies were called to Young's Asian Massage between the Georgia cities of Woodstock and Acworth after reports of a shooting, Cherokee County sheriff's officials said.

That shooting left four people dead -- two Asian, and two White -- and one person injured, Baker said. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other two died at a hospital.

Killed were Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44.

The injured survivor was Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, authorities said.

About an hour later and 30 miles away, Atlanta police responded to what was described as a robbery at the Gold Massage Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. Police said they found three people dead.

While there, police received another call of shots fired across the street at the Aroma Therapy Spa, where they found one person dead, Bryant said.

The victims were identified as Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, 63, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.

Investigators found surveillance video of a suspect near the Cherokee County scene and published images on social media.

Long's family saw the images, contacted authorities and helped identify him.

Georgia's new hate crime law was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2020 following public outrage over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The law allows judges to impose sentences to increase punishment against those who target victims based on perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.

Georgia had been one of four states without a hate crime law.

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