Robert Aaron Long, the white man accused of fatally shooting eight people in several Atlanta-area spas has been officially charged with eight counts of murder.
According to NBC News, the 21-year-old is also facing an aggravated assault charge over the shooting spree which began on Tuesday, March 16.
Long was arrested in southwest Georgia, around 150 miles south of Atlanta, and taken into custody in Crisp County.
The first shooting began around 5pm onTuesday, some 30 miles north of Atlanta when five people were shot at a massage parlor, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said. Two of the victims died at the scene. Three were taken to a hospital, where two of them also died, Baker said.
About an hour later, Atlanta police responded to calls for a robbery in progress and found three women dead at the Gold Spa, Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee said. While still on scene, police received calls for shots fired across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another woman fatally shot.
Out of the eight victims, six of them were Asian women.
On Wednesday, authorities held a press conference and announced that Long said the killings were not racially motivated. He claimed he has a “sexual addiction” and the parlors were a “temptation” he wanted to “eliminate.”
The murder suspect also told investigators that he was on his way to Florida to “do more acts” there.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms refuted claims that the spas had any ties to sex work. She said they were “legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar” and “we are not about to get into victim blaming, victim shaming here.”
“Yesterday was a tragic day across our state,” Bottoms added. “A crime against any community is a crime against us all.”