The FBI has reportedly joined the investigation into the shooting spree that left eight people – six of them Asian women – dead at three metro Atlanta massage parlors.
Agents arrived Wednesday morning in Crisp County, where Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested Tuesday night after a police pursuit that ended with a PIT maneuver that caused his SUV to spin out of control, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The suspect’s motives are still unknown. The identity of the victims – including a white woman and a white man – has not been released.
The South Korean foreign ministry said its consulate-general in Atlanta had confirmed that the victims included four women of Korean descent but was verifying their nationality, according to Reuters.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was visiting South Korea on Wednesday, offered his condolences.
“We are horrified by this violence which has no place in America or anywhere,” Blinken told South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong.
Long was first identified as the suspect in the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County, where four people were killed and one person injured, according to the sheriff’s office.
He also is suspected in two more shootings at similar businesses in northeast Atlanta that resulted in four additonal deaths, police said.
“It does appear that it’s the same suspect,” Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee sheriff’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, adding that surveillance images indicate Long is the suspect in all three shootings.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement: “The president has been briefed overnight about the horrific shootings in Atlanta. White House officials have been in touch with the mayor’s office and will remain in touch with the FBI.”
The rampage sparked outrage among advocacy groups and public officials.
“We’re horrified by the news coming out of GA at a time when we’re already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence,” the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said on Twitter.
“Although details are still unfolding, at least half of the victims appear to be Asian American women. Our hearts go out to the victims & their families. #StopAsianHate,” CAPAC added.
Democratic US Rep. Ted Lieu of California reacted to the statement on Twitter by saying: “My heart goes out to the families of the victims of another mass shooting. Many of the victims are Asian. These murders occurred at a time when anti-Asian violence has been spiking. All officials should do their part to condemn violence and not inflame further discrimination.”
The NYPD’s counter-terrorism branch said on Twitter that although there was no known connection to the Big Apple, the department “will be deploying assets to our great Asian communities across the city out of an abundance of caution.”