Rabu, 17 Maret 2021

Alleged killer says sex addiction, not racism, motivated Atlanta shooting spree - Sydney Morning Herald

Washington: The man who allegedly killed eight people at three massage parlours in Atlanta has told police the gruesome shooting spree was motivated by shame about a sex addiction rather than racism against Asian Americans.

Police officers investigating the case said they believe the man was a customer at the spas in question, and that he may have been planning to travel interstate to carry out similar killings at sex-related businesses.

One of the massage parlours where a gunman killed people in Atlanta.

One of the massage parlours where a gunman killed people in Atlanta.Credit:AP

News of the killings on Tuesday (AEDT) sparked immediate questions about whether they were racially motivated hate crimes given six of the victims were Asian women.

US President Joe Biden last week said he was alarmed by a reported rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the coronavirus pandemic began, saying: “It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop.”

But police told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (AEDT) that, while it was still too early to definitively determine the killer’s motivation, the indications were that it was not a racially motivated attack.

Police said Robert Aaron Long, 21, had taken responsibility for the killings after being arrested and taken into custody.

An image of the accused, Robert Aaron Long, is displayed near a press release provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.

An image of the accused, Robert Aaron Long, is displayed near a press release provided by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.Credit:AP

“He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said.

He added that Long may have been “lashing out” through the killings.


“We still have a lot of things to process,” he said.

Captain Jay Baker, also of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, said: “He does claim that it was not racially-motivated.

“He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places. It’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that Long could have killed even more people had law enforcement officials not quickly intervened to arrest him.

“The suspect was on his way to Florida, perhaps to carry out additional shootings,” she said.

Police said Long was planning to travel to Florida to attack “some type of porn industry”.

Speaking after the press conference Biden said he knew that “Asian-Americans are very concerned” at the moment.

“Because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian-Americans for the last couple months, and I think it’s very, very troubling,” he said.

“But I am making no connection at this moment to the motivation of the killer.”

Bottoms, the Atlanta Mayor, stressed that the incident was tragic regardless of the killer’s motive.

“Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that the majority of the victims were Asian,” Bottoms said.

“We also know that this is an issue that is happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful and it has to stop.”

The group Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate released a report this week showing nearly 3800 anti-Asian hate incidents were reported over the past year, with the vast majority against women.

Verbal harassment and shunning were the most common types of discrimination, making up 68 per cent and 20 per cent of the reports respectively. The third most common category, physical assault, made up 11 per cent of the total incidents.

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2021-03-17 16:37:43Z

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