The surveillance video reveals Aaron Lengthy leaving the spa
ATLANTA – As people gathered across the country to support the country’s Asian-American community following the Georgia murders last week, hundreds gathered in downtown Atlanta over the weekend for a rally and march to honor the victims and decipher anti-Asian violence.
“We have been invisible and ignored in our country for over a century,” New York-based actor Will Lex Ham told the crowd on Saturday. “We are being attacked violently and physically.” An elderly man in San Francisco had to die to get attention. Six Asian women had to die in Atlanta to get people to care. “
Eight people were killed in the rampage on Tuesday, six of them Asian women. Although police say the suspect said he did not attack them because of their race, the crime touched a nerve in a community that has been hit by a year-long surge in anti-Asian incidents in recent months.
The Atlanta crowd gathered near the State Capitol. Many held up signs saying “Stop Asian Hate” as Ham among the organizers of the event led them to a chant of “Stand Up, Fight Back!” Led.
Gaby Lynch, 32, was carrying a piece of cardboard that said, “Does this mark make me look submissive?”
Lynch, the daughter of a Filipino man and a Korean-Japanese-Irish mother, said the event was her first rally and she was encouraged to see community support.
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“It feels right at home – like we’re surrounded by family members,” said Lynch, who works in wholesale in Atlanta. “We need people who know that we are not just quiet and quiet.”
Newly elected Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock offered his support to the crowd and pledged to use his position to fight discrimination, racism and gun violence.
The tragedy has fueled a surge in support as churches nationwide from Phoenix to Philadelphia gathered to mourn the dead. A coalition called the Asian American Leaders Table had compiled a list of such events across the country, some of which were scheduled for the weekend or later that month.
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Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign to help the family of one of the victims, a single mother of two, raised nearly $ 2.3 million on Saturday morning.
The suspect entered the spa an hour before the shootings, video shows
The surveillance video released on Friday shows the suspect in the murders leaving the spa, where the first shootings are believed to have taken place.
The video obtained from The Associated Press shows Robert Aaron Long, 21, exiting Young’s Asian massage service in Acworth, Georgia, 30 minutes north of Atlanta, and getting into his vehicle.
Four people were shot there and another injured. Four more were killed in two other spas in the Atlanta area.
Other Washington Post video footage shows Long, 21, spent an hour outside Young’s before entering the spa. An hour and 12 minutes later, he is seen leaving the place and getting into his car before the police arrive, the newspaper said.
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Further details about the suspect have emerged. Records released TODAY in the US showed that Long had been kicked out of his parents’ house the day before filming and was “emotional”.
Long was recently fired from his job in a trade show business because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.
Police said Long said he committed the shootings because of a sex addiction.
Spas had been the targets of police stabs
Police records showed that officials had assaulted two of the spas for prostitution on multiple occasions over the past decade, which appeared to contradict Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ statement earlier this week that the companies were not a police problem other than a minor potential theft .
Federal investigators have found no evidence raising the bar for hate crime charges against Long at the federal level, The Associated Press reported, citing two law enforcement officers.
However, experts have said that the killings are inextricably linked with racism and hatred. The shooting comes amid an increase in incidents of hatred, discrimination and violence against Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic fueled by racist rhetoric from politicians, said Stop AAPI Hate, a group tracking such incidents.
Those killed on Tuesday were Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Xiaojie Tan, 49, who owned Young’s.
Events on Tuesday began in the late afternoon when authorities said Long opened fire on Young before driving 30 miles to Atlanta and killing four other people at two companies, Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. Police believe he was driving to Florida where he was targeting additional spas when he was arrested about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
Reverberations from the incident are being felt across the country, especially among Asian Americans, who feel vulnerable and fearful of venturing out amid the surge in anti-Asian incidents. In a report released this week before the Atlanta murders, Stop AAPI Hate said it had recorded nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents – including harassment, discrimination and violence – from mid-March last year to late February 2021.
Kay Kim, a longtime Savannah resident who attends a local Asian church, said her entire community is scared. In conversation, she oscillates between the fear of violence and the belief that the world is still beautiful.
“It’s pointless,” said Kim – a word she goes back to repeatedly.
“It doesn’t have to be like that,” she says. “It’s a beautiful America, a blessed land. We shouldn’t ruin it with such actions. ”
Contributors: Nancy Guan, Savannah Morning News; The Associated Press
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