Robert Aaron Long’s Instagram bio reads, “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God”
Police are still trying to find out the motive of Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old from Georgia who is accused of killing eight people in a shooting spree that took place in three different Atlanta area massage parlors last night. But as details about the suspect, who was apprehended by police after a highway chase, begin to trickle in, the public is learning more — like that an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long had this bio: “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.”
The shootings, which took place over the course of an hour, appeared to target Asian-owned businesses, and at least six of the people killed were women of Asian descent, reports said. Long’s attack comes during a time when targeted attacks against Asian people and communities has been on the rise.
Eight people were killed at three metro Atlanta massage parlors on Tuesday, and the prime suspect was arrested 150 miles away after a dramatic car chase, according to police. https://t.co/EUpwYnoy3q
— CNN (@CNN) March 17, 2021
When asked if he believed the shootings amounted to a hate crime, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney N. Bryant told reporters, “We can’t make that determination just yet.” Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Capt. Jay Baker elaborated a bit more, saying, “Nothing is going to be ruled out. Wherever the investigation leads us, that’s where we are going to go.”
Police say the rampage started at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, where two people were killed at the scene, one died en route to a hospital, and another died later while being treated. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that two of the victims were Asian women, one was a white woman, and one was a white man. Police also said a Hispanic man was injured in the shooting.
About an hour later, two massage parlors on the same street in Atlanta were targeted — Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa. Four Asian women were killed between those two locations.
Security video footage from the massage parlors helped police identify Long’s vehicle, which was later spotted on Interstate 75, about 150 miles south of Atlanta. After a chase, a state trooper managed to cut off Long’s SUV, and he was taken into custody.
“Video footage … places the Cherokee County suspect’s vehicle in the area, around the time of our Piedmont Road shootings,” Atlanta police said in a press release. “That, along with video evidence viewed by investigators, suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County’s, who is in custody.”
Long’s family has not spoken to reporters or made any kind of public statement. His youth pastor at Crabapple First Baptist Church confirmed he was the suspect in the killings, and said that church elders are planning to release a statement.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said it was “horrified” by the massage parlor shootings “at a time when we’re already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence.”
A former classmate of Long’s, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters, “He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.”