Washington, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- At least eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed on Tuesday in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in the US state of Georgia.
A 21-year-old man identified as Robert Aaron Long was arrested in South Georgia, about 150 miles (250 kilometers) south of Atlanta.
Long is suspected of carrying out all three attacks, according to authorities.
The first shooting occurred shortly before 5 pm local time at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, located north of Atlanta in Cherokee County.
Four people were killed in that first attack and a fifth was injured, according to the sheriff’s office. Those killed were three women, two of them Asian, and a man.
Shortly after, around 5.47 pm local time, four other people were killed in attacks at two other venues – Gold Spa and Aromatherpy Spa – located on the same block in the city of Atlanta.
At Gold Spa, where police had been called to a “robbery in progress,” three women were found dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
While at Gold Spa, police were called across the street to Aromatherapy Spa, were another woman was found shot dead.
According to Atlanta police, all four were of Asian descent.
No motives for the attacks has been established, but hate crimes against Asian-Americans have risen in recent months, inflamed by blame over the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden last week condemned “vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.” EFE-EPA