- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The parents of the suspect in the shooting deaths of eight persons at three Atlanta-area massage parlors helped authorities catch their son, officials said Wednesday.

The family of Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, contacted the Cherokee County sheriff’s office after deputies released surveillance footage of the gunman in the first shooting near Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta.

The parents believed their son was involved, authorities said. They also told deputies that their son’s Hyundai Tucson had a tracking device that could lead authorities to him. Officials said the tracking device enabled police to stop Mr. Long after the third shooting as he drove toward Florida, where he allegedly planned to continue the rampage at a business he believed to be connected to the porn industry.

“This could’ve been significantly worse,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “It’s very likely there would’ve been more victims.”

Mr. Long was charged Wednesday with four counts of murder stemming from the first attack, not far from his home in Cherokee County. The other four victims were killed Tuesday night at two massage parlors in Atlanta.

Officials said they’re still investigating whether the killings were hate crimes — six of the victims were Asian and seven were women. Authorities said Mr. Long told police the shootings weren’t racially motivated and he potentially had a “sex addiction.”

Police said Mr. Long told them he had visited the three massage parlors where the victims were shot. The first shooting occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in a strip mall in Acworth. Police found five people shot, two of whom were dead.

Three victims were rushed to a nearby hospital, where two died.

The four deaths were 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun, 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng and 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan, who owned the business.

The fifth person was in stable condition Wednesday, said Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker.

About an hour after the killings in Acworth, two other shootings occurred in Atlanta at massage parlors across the street from each other. Four more people were killed. Atlanta police said video footage showed the vehicle of the suspect in the Cherokee County shooting in the same area of the Atlanta shootings.

More than three hours after the first shooting, police stopped Mr. Long in a car chase on Interstate 75 about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Sheriff’s deputies in Crisp County, Georgia, along with the Georgia State Patrol stopped Mr. Long by performing a “PIT” maneuver, tapping the rear of his car to cause him to lose control of his vehicle.

Investigators recovered a 9mm handgun from his car. He had purchased the firearm Tuesday at a sporting goods store in Holly Springs, Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr. Long allegedly admitted to police that he committed the shootings and that he acted alone.

“He was pretty much fed up, at the end of his rope and this was a very bad day for him and this is what he did,” Capt. Baker said.

Mr. Long is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday in Cherokee County.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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