Atlanta, GA – The gunman accused of murdering eight people and wounding a ninth in a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday night has confessed to his crimes, according to police.
“It’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Captain Jay Baker told reporters on Wednesday.
Capt. Baker said Long “did take responsibility for the shootings,” KIRO reported.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds, the suspect “frequented these places in the past and may have been lashing out,” but investigators are also looking into whether or not the victims were “targets of opportunity.”
Investigators said they are not aware of any illegal activity taking place at any of the three spas Long targeted on Tuesday night, WAGA reported.
According to police, the gunman confessed he was planning to head to Florida to commit similar attacks when he was apprehended.
Long said the race of the victims, most of whom were Asian, was not a motivating factor for the attacks, according to police.
Atlanta Police Department (APD) Chief Rodney Bryant said police are still considering all potential motives, WAGA reported.
“We are still early in this investigation,” Chief Bryant said during a press conference on Wednesday. “We cannot make that determination at this moment.”
Long is being held at the Cherokee County Detention Center, WAGA reported.
He has been charged in Cherokee County with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault.
Additional charges are expected.
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.
Capt. 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.”
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., CCSO was able to identify Long as the suspect who allegedly carried out the attack in their jurisdiction, WAGA reported.
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.
Investigators said they found a 9mm handgun inside his vehicle, WAGA reported.
Law enforcement officials confirmed early in the investigation that they are looking into whether or not the victims’ ethnicity played a role in the attacks.
“It appears that they may be Asian,” Chief 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting with the investigation into the shooting spree, The Washington Post reported.