Henri Hollis, Shaddi Abusaid and Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A man captured in South Georgia on Tuesday night is the suspect in three Atlanta-area massage parlor shootings that left eight people dead, authorities said.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, was first identified as the suspect in the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County that left four people dead and one person injured, according to the Cherokee sheriff’s office. He was captured Tuesday night in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
He is now a suspect in two more shootings at similar businesses in northeast Atlanta that resulted in four more deaths, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.
“It does appear that it’s the same suspect,” Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee sheriff’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He confirmed that surveillance images indicate that Long is the suspect in all three shootings.
The deadly shooting on Georgia Highway 92 near Acworth took place just before 5 p.m. local time, according to the Cherokee sheriff’s office. Five people were shot, with two declared dead at the scene and three taken to the hospital with injuries. Two of those injured later died at the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
The victims were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, Baker said. The fifth victim was a Hispanic man who was injured and taken to the hospital. Officials have not provided an update on his condition.
It appeared all five victims were shot inside the business, Baker said. Surveillance footage showed the suspect pulled up about 4:50 p.m., minutes before the shooting.
Around 5:45 p.m., four more people were killed in shootings at two separate massage parlors near one another on Piedmont Road, according to interim Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant.
Police first responded to Gold Spa, where they found three women dead from gunshot wounds inside the business, spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said. While investigating the scene, officers were called across the street to another shooting at Aromatherapy Spa, where they found another woman dead from a gunshot wound inside.
Atlanta police said that all four victims appeared to be Asian women. Officers were dispatched to check nearby similar businesses and patrols were increased in the area, Chafee said.
In Cherokee, Highway 92 was temporarily shut down as officials investigated the shooting near the intersection with Bells Ferry Road. The shopping center was closed to the public as investigators searched for ballistics, fingerprints and other evidence. The busy highway was temporarily stopped in both directions as it filled with patrol cars, ambulances and a fire truck.