© Reuters. Police vehicles can be seen in this picture on the Cherokee Sheriff & # 39; s Office Twitter account
By Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman
(Reuters) – Eight people, including at least six Asian women, were shot dead Tuesday in a massage parlor and two day baths in the Atlanta area. A man suspected of carrying out all the attacks was arrested hours later in South Georgia, police said.
Four victims were killed and another wounded in a shooting around 5 p.m. Local time at Young's Asian Massage in Cherokee County, about 40 miles north of Atlanta, said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County's Sheriff's Department.
Two women of Asian descent were among the dead, along with a white woman and a white man, Baker said, adding that the surviving victim was a Spanish man.
In Atlanta, the state capital, police officers responded to a "robbery" call shortly before 6 pm. Arrived at a beauty spa, found three women shot, Police Chief Rodney Bryant told reporters.
While investigating the first shooting report, officers were called from a second spa across the street where a fourth woman was found dead, Bryant said. All four victims killed in Atlanta were of Asian descent.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, Cherokee County, was taken into custody around 8:30 p.m. in Crisp County, Georgia, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
Baker said investigators are "very confident" that the same suspect is the shooter in all three shootings.
Police officers gave no possible motive for the rampage and said they did not immediately know if the victims were attacked because of their race or ethnicity.
The violence came days after President Joe Biden used a nationally televised speech to condemn the recent surge in hate crime and discrimination against Americans from Asia. Civil rights groups have suggested that former President Donald Trump contributed to this trend by repeatedly referring to the coronavirus as the "China virus" because it was there for the first time.
A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's branch in Atlanta said the agency supports police in Cherokee County and Atlanta.
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