On Tuesday evening, a lone gunman in Atlanta undertook a string of targeted, deadly attacks at local spas, murdering six Asian women along with two other people.
The horrific attack comes as the U.S. is seeing a surge in violence targeting Asian Americans.
According to police, the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, told authorities that he did not target the victims because of their race, but because he had a “sexual addiction” and wanted to “eliminate” his “temptation.”
He also said that he was on his way to Florida to target the “porn industry” and could have potentially carried out more shootings.
Investigators said that Long has a sexual addiction and had frequently visited the massage spas.
In a bizarre and disturbing press conference, captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said that Long “was pretty much fed up and at the end of his rope,” adding, “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.”
As many have noted, this is an odd and shockingly callous way to talk about a man who just killed eight people. Another officer, sheriff Frank Reynolds, said that Long likely frequented the spas and was “lashing out,” which again is an appallingly casual way to talk about mass murder.
Nico Straughan a mate of the suspect, met Long when he moved to the area in seventh grade, saying Long brought a Bible to school every day and was “super nice, super Christian, very quiet.”
“I don’t know what turn of heart he might have had, but he went from one of the nicest kids I ever knew in high school to being on the news,” Straughan said. “I mean, all my friends, we were flabbergasted.”