Last Updated on March 17, 2021
Police say Robert Aaron Long, the man accused of murdering 8 people, two of white descent and six of Asian descent, in a series of Atlanta massage parlors on Tuesday has confessed to his crimes. Long, according to police, says he was not motivated by hatred toward the Asian community, but instead blamed the massage parlors for his “sex addiction.”
“The suspect did take responsibility for the shootings. He said that early on once we began the interviews with him. He claims, as the Chief said, this is still early, but he does claim that it was not racially motivated,” said the Atlanta police in a press conference on Wednesday.
“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. Like we said, it’s still early on.”
Despite this press conference airing hours before her statement, this did not stop Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel from associating the event with “the recent rise of hate crimes against Asian Pacific Americans,” adding that “We strongly condemn this violence and stand with the APA community.”
The recent rise of hate crimes against Asian Pacific Americans is despicable, and must end.
We strongly condemn this violence and stand with the APA community. (2/2)
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) March 17, 2021
McDaniel echoed the sentiments of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms and Vice President Kamala Harris, both Democrats, who both suggested racial hatred may have played a part in the attack.
“Whether it is senseless violence that we’ve seen play out in our streets, or more targeted violence like we saw yesterday, a crime against any community is a crime against us all,” said Bottoms.
Harris underscored this sentiment this morning, noting that Joe Biden will address the attacks at some point today.
“The investigation is ongoing, we don’t yet know, we’re not yet clear about the motive,” Harris falsely claimed. “But I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you, and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people, but knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak up in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any kind of hate.”
President Joe Biden told reporters that he will address the topic later today, and Vice President Kamala Harris said it was "tragic."
"It speaks to a larger issue, which is violence in our country and to never tolerate it," Harris said. https://t.co/fODhw5efHd pic.twitter.com/LkSJIAThqE
— POLITICO (@politico) March 17, 2021
Underscoring politicians’ lack of understanding of the issue is a report from Ciara Cummings, a reporter for Atlanta’s CBS 46. “Investigators say the suspect in #ATL area massage spa shootings had visited the businesses before.”
“Long told investigators the crimes were not racially motivated,” wrote Cummings. “That he blames the spas for his ‘addiction to sex'”.
#BREAKING: Investigators say the suspect in #ATL area massage spa shootings had visited the businesses before. Long told investigators the crimes were not racially motivated—that he blames the spas for his “addiction to sex” @cbs46
— Ciara Cummings (@CiaraCBS46) March 17, 2021