The Georgia man suspected of killing eight in an Atlanta-area spa shooting spree was “caring” and “kept to himself” in high school, stunned former classmates said Wednesday.
“He was a totally different person in school. Quiet, calm, and collected,” Jonathan Desire, who graduated with 21-year-old shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long, told Fox News.
Desire described the former Sequoyah High School classmate as religious and said that he “definitely wouldn’t have expected this behavior from him.”
“Definitely shocking,” he told the outlet.
Taylor Leigh-Carlucci, who also attended Sequoyah High with Long, said that he was “quiet and really to himself.”
Though she didn’t know him “super personally,” she said other peers remembered him as “caring.”
“After talking to friends, no one would have expected this from him,” she told the outlet.
Another former classmate, who didn’t want to be identified, recalled Long not having a “ton of friends.”
“From what I can remember he was a really smart kid,” he told the outlet. “He was really quiet and kept to himself the majority of the time.”
Yet another former classmate speculated that there must have been something that pushed him to carry out the grisly massacre.
“I really didn’t know him that well but I would’ve never expected this,” the woman, who spoke anonymously, told Fox News.
“We came from a pretty good town, and everyone seemed to know who he was or at least his name, but he was never super social. I hate to give him the benefit of the doubt because what he did cannot be justified but I just feel like there [has got to] be a reason for what he did.”
Long allegedly shot up one massage parlor near Woodstock on Tuesday evening then two more in Buckhead before authorities tracked him down.
He told authorities that he had a “sex addiction” and gave no indication that the crime spree was racially-motivated, despite six of the victims being Asian women.
“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, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker told reporters.
Police, however, said they have not ruled out that the massacre was a hate crime at this stage of the investigation.