The 21-year-old accused of open fire in spas in the United States last week, killing eight people, faces additional charges of “malicious murder” and aggravated assault, a law enforcement agency said on Monday.
Malicious murder is a misdemeanor in the US state of Georgia, where the murderous attacks took place, alleging implicit or express wickedness.
Robert Aaron Long was taken into custody following a police chase hours after the raging shooting in three separate spas on March 16, which sparked a national outcry over hate attacks against Asian Americans.
“Working with jurisdictions across Georgia, Robert Aaron Long was quickly apprehended and now faces murder and aggravated assault charges in our jurisdiction,” the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. .
The office said his deputies are still investigating the crime and gathering evidence.
“In an effort to preserve the prosecution record, Sheriff Cherokee’s office will not be commenting further on this matter at this time,” he said.
Seven of the eight people killed in the shootings were women, six of whom were of Asian origin.
They are Soon C Park, 74, Hyun J Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong A Yue, 63, Daoyou Feng, 44 and 49. Xiaojie Tan, owner of one of the massage parlors.
Paul Andre Michels, an army veteran, and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, were also killed.
The the attacks triggered mourning and anger, as community advocates called for concrete action to defend Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from racist attacks, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From where I’m sitting, I want to see a deeper investigation into whether or not these shootings and other similar crimes are motivated by race,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, one of only two Americans to Asian origin in the Senate, told the CBS program Face the Nation on Sunday.
Duckworth, other Asian-American lawmakers and advocates have called on former President Donald Trump to use terms such as “Kung flu” and “Chinese virus” to refer to the COVID-19 pandemic as a contributing factor. surge in hate incidents over the past year. .
Words have consequences.
Offensive names like the “Chinese virus” have led innocent people to get hurt just because of the color of their skin and it must stop.
I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the COVID-19 hate crimes law.
– Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) March 22, 2021
A recent report found that 3,795 incidents of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders took place between March 2020 and February of this year.
In the meantime, protesters gathered in Atlanta and several other American cities over the weekend to demand an end to anti-Asian racism and violence.
A spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also released a statement on Monday saying that Gutteres “is deeply concerned about the rise in violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The world has witnessed horrific murderous attacks, verbal and physical harassment, bullying in schools, discrimination in the workplace, incitement to hatred in the media and on social media platforms,” and inflammatory comments from those in positions of power, ”the statement read. do not mention a specific country.
“In some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attacks, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hate.”
The FBI is currently assisting local authorities with the investigation, which has yet to determine bias as a motivator, which is necessary to prosecute hate crime charges.