Atlanta, GA – A gunman murdered at least eight people during a string of attacks at three Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday night.
The shooting spree began in Cherokee County just before 5 p.m., when deputies received a report of a shooting at Young’s Asian Massage parlor on Georgia Highway 92, WAGA reported.
Deputies responded to the scene to find five gunshot victims – three of whom were already dead.
The other two victims were rushed to a local hospital, where one of them ended up passing away, WAGA reported.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Captain Jay Baker said investigators believe the gunman carried out the attack quickly before fleeing the scene in a dark-colored Hyundai Tucson.
“We don’t believe he was here very long,” Capt. Baker told WAGA. “We think he was in and out.”
He said investigators are working to determine whether or not the shooter knew the victims.
“We don’t know if this is a random act,” the captain told WAGA.
#BREAKING Heavy police activity in Woodstock on Hwy 92 at Bells Ferry Rd. All lanes are blocked in both directions. Use Shiloh/ Shallowford Rd as an alternate. @wsbradio @wsbtv #ATLtraffic pic.twitter.com/Nkskdi0Ygf
— Mike Shields WSB (@MikeShieldsWSB) March 16, 2021
The shooter then headed to Atlanta and made his way to the 1900-block of Piedmont Road, where the Gold Spa is located, according to police.
Atlanta police received a report of a “robbery in progress” at the spa at 5:47 p.m., WAGA reported.
When they arrived at the scene, they found three women shot to death inside the business.
Just moments later, another call came in about an attack at the Aroma Therapy Spa, which is located across the street from the Gold Spa, WAGA reported.
Police headed over to the nearby business and found an eighth victim dead inside.
At approximately 8 p.m., the CCSO was able to identify the man who allegedly carried out the attack in their jurisdiction as 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, WAGA reported.
— Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 17, 2021
CCSO notified Crisp County deputies, who worked with Georgia State Patrol (GSP) to intercept Long as he traveled along Interstate 75.
Police spotted the suspect at approximately 8:30 p.m. and tried to pull him over, WAGA reported.
“Georgia State Patrol troopers performed a PIT maneuver, which caused the vehicle to spin out of control,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said.
Long was taken into custody without further incident and has since been booked into the Crisp County jail, WAGA reported.
JUST IN: Robert Aaron Long, 21 , is booked into jail accused of murdering 8 people in shooting spree targeting Asian massage parlors across metro Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/xrU5JCNCMx
— Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) March 17, 2021
Law enforcement officials confirmed they are looking into whether or not the victims’ ethnicity played a role in the attacks.
“It appears that they may be Asian,” APD Chief Rodney Bryant said of the victims in Atlanta.
Two of the women murdered in Cherokee County were also Asian, the CCSO said, according to WAGA.
The other two victims who were killed were white, while the victim who remains hospitalized in Marietta is Hispanic.
The names of the eight victims who died have not been released.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting with the investigation into the shooting spree, The Washington Post reported.