Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat, on Sunday called for a more thorough investigation into the Atlanta spa attack that left eight people dead, including six Asian-American women, saying it “looks racially motivated to me.”
“From where I sit, I want to see a deeper investigation into whether or not these shootings and other similar crimes are racially motivated,” said Ms. Duckworth on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It looks racially motivated to me, but I’m not a police officer. I’m not investigating the crimes.”
She said she has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray to take a closer look at crimes against Asian-Americans to see “how many crimes have actually been underreported as hate crimes.”
“We know that crimes against Asian-Americans that have been categorized as hate crimes increased by over 150% in our nation’s major cities. That’s over 3,800 additional crimes last year,” Ms. Duckworth said. “But we also know that many of these crimes go underreported as hate crimes and are just classified as a mugging or harassment or vandalism when really they were targeted at Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in particular.”
Mr. Wray told NPR last week that “while the motive remains still under investigation at the moment, it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated. But I really would defer to the state and local investigation on that for now.”
Local authorities have said that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the March 16 shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, told them he was a sex addict who wanted to “eliminate the temptation” and was not motivated by race, although law enforcement is still investigating.
A ninth shooting victim, Elicias Hernandez Ortiz, survived the attack but remains hospitalized.