8 dead in 3 shootings at massage parlors in Georgia; police investigating motive; suspect arrested

At least one gunman killed eight people at Atlanta-area massage parlors Tuesday and police say they are trying to determine a motive for the brazen attacks.

Hours after the attacks, a 21-year-old man was captured in southwest Georgia. Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker said Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia, was taken into custody in Crisp County on Tuesday night, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.

Baker said they believe Long is the suspect in all three shootings.

The Atlanta Police Department responded to calls of a robbery in progress shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sergeant John Chafee said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY. Police found three women dead when they arrived at the scene.

While police were at the first scene, they received calls regarding shots fired across the street, Chafee said. They responded and found another woman who had been fatally shot inside a massage parlor.

This undated photo provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, in Georgia, shows a person of interest in a massage parlor shooting. Several people were killed and others injured at a massage parlor in Cherokee County, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, officials said. Shootings at other massage parlors in Atlanta also occurred. (Courtesy of Cherokee County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said at least three of the victims were female and “It appears that they may be Asian.”

Around 5 p.m., five people were shot at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said. Two of the victims were dead and three were transported to a hospital where two of them also died, Baker said. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office released a photo of a suspect on Facebook Tuesday evening.

“Having these two shootings occur at massage parlors and with knowledge of Cherokee County’s shootings, Zone 2 commanders quickly dispatched officers to check nearby similar businesses and patrols have been increased in those areas,” Chafee said.

Police have not said if the shootings are related.

“Many have asked whether these shootings are related to Cherokee County’s shootings,” Chafee said. “At the moment, it is too early to confirm that, but we have spoken with Cherokee County officials and we are looking into that possibility.”

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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