Atlanta Shootings


Brandon Chan, Staff Writer

Recently, news of Asian Americans being verbally harassed and physically assaulted have risen. Some of these incidents are due to the rising xenophobia toward people of color or are acts of pure malice. 

On Mar. 16, a shooting occurred at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, located about 30 miles north of Atlanta. At around 5 p.m., the police arrived at the scene of the crime and found five wounded. Two people were fatally shot and another two were taken to a local hospital, where they later died from their injuries. 

“We don’t know if this incident is racially motivated, but you have to understand the deep-seated fear that our community is experiencing,” said Cynthia Choi, one of the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate, a recently formed group that follows violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

Roughly an hour later after the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, two other shootings took place across the street from one another at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. These two shootings left four more people dead. 

That same night, Robert Aaron Long, resident of Woodstock, Georgia, was taken into custody in Crisp County. The Atlanta Police Department said that they had found a 9mm firearm in his car. He was charged by authorities with eight counts of murder in all three shootings. 

On Tuesday morning, Long had purchased the firearm from Big Woods Goods, a sporting store in Cherokee Country. He was known to be an avid hunter, and in 2019 he even ran away from his home with his girlfriend (a missing persons report was filed). 

However, there is controversy over whether or not Long should be charged with a hate crime. 

“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 Office spokesman Captain Jay Baker said.

Another Georgia sheriff stated that the shooter was only having a “bad day,” and thus, lashed out. 

Other high-ranking officials and politicians such as Kamala Harris have said that Asian American incidents all across the country should be the first priority right now. 

“The investigation is ongoing, we don’t yet know, we’re not yet clear about the motive,” said Vice President Kamala Harris,“but I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people.”

The victims were Soon Chung Park, age 74, Hyun Jung Grant, age 51, Suncha Kim, age 69, Yong Yue, age 63, Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33, Paul Andre Michels, age 54, Xiaojie Tan, age 49, Daoyou Feng, age 44.


Photo courtesy of CNN.COM