Atlanta Shooting Suspect Reveals Motive Behind Horrific Attack


Anti-Asian sentiment was quickly blamed after eight people, including six Asian women, were murdered in Georgia Tuesday and three Atlanta-area massage parlors were attacked, but police have said there may have been another motive.

Police said Robert Aaron Long, 21, engaged in a shooting spree Tuesday evening that spanned two counties. While former President Donald Trump, the coronavirus pandemic and xenophobia were quickly floated as motives for the Atlanta metro area killings, Long reportedly cited sex addiction as his motivation.

The suspect also apparently had an issue with Asian massage parlors, NBC News reported.

Authorities stressed they would not make an official determination of motive until the investigation is completed.

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“We are still early in this investigation, so we cannot make that determination at this moment,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said, according to CNN.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker said Long told investigators he struggled with addictions to pornography and sex but said race was not a motivating factor, according to Fox News.

“[Long] does claim that it was not racially motivated,” Baker said. “He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as … a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

“These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something he shouldn’t be doing,” Baker said, adding that Long said he was “attempting to take out that temptation.”

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“He was fed up, at the end of his rope. He had a bad day, and this is what he did.”

Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds also spoke of the violent murders, and said Long “may have frequented some of these places in the past” and the man “might have been lashing out.”

Long allegedly used a 9mm gun to commit the murders and was apprehended after images of him released to the public were seen by his family. When he was arrested as he crossed into Crisp County, he reportedly signaled he was on his way to Florida to target more massage parlors.

Police used a PIT maneuver to stop his vehicle.

Vice President Kamala Harris commented on the slayings late Tuesday.

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“We’re not clear yet on the motive, but I do want to say, to our Asian America community that we stand with you,” Harris said, according to NBC News. “Knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any kind of hate.”

President Joe Biden was briefed on the killings overnight and on Wednesday.

“Whatever the motivation here, I know Asian Americans, they are very concerned, because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian Americans, and it’s troubling,” Biden said. “But I am making no connection at this moment to the motivation of the killer. … I’ll have more to say when the investigation is completed.”

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California quickly blamed anti-Asian sentiment and Trump for the murders before any information was known on Tuesday.

“The former President inflamed discrimination against Asian Americans by using racist phrases like Kung Flu,” Lieu tweeted. “I urge any officials who continue to use ethnic identifiers to describe the virus to please stop doing so. You are adding fuel to the fire of hate.”

In another post, he wrote that Trump “used racist phrases like Kung Flu that inflamed discrimination against the Asian American community,” and that “Officials that continue to use ethnic identifiers in describing the virus are part of the problem.”

Wednesday afternoon, Lieu was still claiming racism was the motive for the crimes.

“Did the murderer in the Atlanta area shoot employees at strip clubs to relieve his alleged temptations? Or adult video stores? Or adult movie theaters? NO. He specifically went to three locations that disproportionately had Asian women employees,” he tweeted. “#StopAsianHate.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.