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Police in US Charge Man in Deadly Mass Shooting


American police investigate a mass shooting at three massage businesses on March 16, 2021, in the Atlanta area of Georgia. Eight people were killed. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
Police in US Charge Man in Deadly Mass Shooting
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Police have charged a man with murder in connection with the mass shooting in the American state of Georgia Tuesday. Eight people were killed in the attacks at three massage businesses in or near Atlanta.

Police arrested 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long about two hours after the attack. They say Long told them he carried out the attack because he is a sex addict, someone with an unhealthy dependence on sex.

This handout booking photo released by the Crisp County Sheriff's Office on March 16, 2021 shows 21-year-old shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long.
This handout booking photo released by the Crisp County Sheriff's Office on March 16, 2021 shows 21-year-old shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long.

Seven women were killed, six of them identified as ethnic Asian and one as white. A white man was also killed.

Early reports about the shootings raised the possibility the attack was a race-based hate crime. However, police said Long told them that race was not connected to the shootings.

The attack was the sixth mass killing this year in the U.S., reports the Associated Press, based on information from a database the AP shares with USA Today and Northeastern University in Massachusetts.

Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest mass killing since August 2019 when nine people were killed in Dayton, Ohio.

One official said Long had visited at least one of the businesses before Tuesday. However, another suggested he may have only visited similar businesses. Officials also said Long was planning to go to Florida next to attack, in their words, some kind "of porn industry."

A police official said Long apparently wanted to destroy the businesses as he saw them as a threat because of his reported sex addiction.

A reporter asked Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms whether the businesses attacked were places where sex was sold. Bottoms did not answer the question. She said she did not want, in her words, “to get into victim blaming, victim shaming here."

Flowers are seen laid in front of the Young's Asian Massage following the deadly shootings in Acworth, Georgia, March 17, 2021.
Flowers are seen laid in front of the Young's Asian Massage following the deadly shootings in Acworth, Georgia, March 17, 2021.

Asian Americans Worries

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday about the mass killing. He acknowledged the worry of the Asian Americans. The community has faced a rise in race-based crimes since COVID-19 arrived.

But Biden said he was waiting for further information from investigators. “I’m making no connection at this moment for the motivation” of the killer. He added that he would "have more to say when the investigation is completed.”

Vice President Kamala Harris sent sympathies to the victims’ families and expressed support for the Asian American community, of which she is part.

Just before the shooting on Tuesday, the group Stop AAPI Hate released a report saying that nearly 3,800 Asian Americans were targets of hate crimes in the last 12 months.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry earlier said that its diplomats in Atlanta had confirmed that four of the dead were women of Korean ancestry.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in South Korea for a meeting with its foreign minister spoke of the killings during an opening statement.

“We are horrified by this violence which has no place in America or anywhere,” he said.

I’m Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

massage –n. the action of rubbing or pressing someone's body in a way that helps muscles to relax or reduces pain in muscles and joints

porn –n. movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement

shame –v. to cause someone to feel guilt, regret, or sadness

at this moment –n. the present time

motivation –n. a force or influence that causes someone to do something

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