© Reuters. Overview of Crabapple First Baptist, after the deadly shooting at the spa three days, in Alpharetta
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) – Baptist Church where suspect in the spa murder in the Atlanta area this week released a statement on Friday, criticizing the attack as a wicked betrayal of faith and describing eight victims , including six Asian women, as innocent.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with eight murder charges in Tuesday’s deadly shooting by four people at two day spas in Atlanta and four others at a massage parlor in Cherokee County, about 40 miles away. (64 km) north of the state capital.
In a statement, Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, said “Long’s extreme and cruel action was no different than rebellion against our God and His Word.”
Investigators said Long admitted to carrying out the attacks, arguing he was driven by internal contradiction over what he described as a sexual addiction, not racial hatred towards people. Asia.
But the rage has sparked fears among Asian Americans, who see crime as part of a national surge in racial-motivated attacks, which has accelerated with the pandemic. COVID-19.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Atlanta on Friday to support Asian Americans and meet leaders of the growing Asian American and Pacific Island communities in the region.
The authorities insist they do not rule out accusing Long of hatred even though Long claims that racial prejudice is not his motive.
“Aaron’s action (NYSE 🙂 is against everything we believe and teach as a church. Under the strongest possible conditions, we condemn Aaron Long’s actions as well.” as his stated reasons for implementing this wicked plan, “said the church, where Long and his father were members. “Can’t blame the victims.”
An old roommate of Long’s at a rehabilitation center said the suspect would feel ashamed and regretful after regularly going to the massage parlor for sex, after which he would “return to God.” .
Fulton district officials on Thursday identified four Atlanta victims: Soon C. Park, 74, Hyun J. Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, and Yong A. Yue, 63. All of them are of Korean descent, according to the Korean consulate in Atlanta.
The victims in Cherokee County were identified by the authorities as: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44.
The killings in Georgia have prompted more police departments to patrol and observe Asian-American communities across the country. Hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 major cities have grown 149% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hatred and Extremeism.
A former Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, who was criticized for saying Long had “had a really bad day” and who had previously advertised T-shirts blaming Asians for the pandemic was re-appointed, the New York Times reported.
Captain Jay Baker, who was designated as the chief communications officer on the sheriff’s website, has been replaced with Erika Neldner, whose email signature identifies her as chief of communications.