A 21-year-old man identified as Robert Aaron Long has been arrested on suspicion of killing eight people, including six Asian women, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors.
Here is what is known about Long so far.
– Motive not racial, he says –
Long has taken responsibility for the shootings “but he does claim it was not racially motivated,” said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office.
Long told authorities he has a sex addiction problem and sees massage parlors as “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Baker said.
– A short manhunt –
Surveillance footage released by police shows Long, wearing glasses and a red and navy blue hoodie, getting into a Hyundai Tucson car near one of the crime scenes.
Long was apprehended about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of Atlanta several hours after the shootings.
When he was caught Long was on his way to Florida, perhaps to carry out more shootings targeting “some type of porn industry,” Baker said.
It was Long’s parents who contacted police after his photo was released Tuesday announcing he was a suspect and they helped identify him.
Authorities have charged Long with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the first of the three shootings, which took place in a suburb north of Atlanta, US media reported.
Additionally, Atlanta police said they have charged Long with four counts of murder in the subsequent attacks at two spas in the city.
Long was set to be arraigned Thursday morning.
– Pizza, guns, and God –
“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life,” read the tagline on an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long, The Daily Beast reported. The account has since been deleted.
A student who graduated from the same high school as Long in 2017 told The Daily Beast that Long was “a hunter.”
In a photo released by the authorities, Long is seen wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the words “Matthews Archery” — a company that specializes in crossbows.
– ‘I was saved’ –
“He was very innocent-seeming and wouldn’t even cuss. He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember,” the former classmate told The Daily Beast.
Long’s father was a youth minister or pastor, and Long was “big into religion,” this person said.
Long was deeply involved with Crabapple First Baptist Church, which he attended with his parents and younger sister, according to the news website Heavy.
In a 2018 Facebook post that has since been deleted, Long described how he was baptized for a second time that year.
He said he was first christened in grade school but strayed from his faith and re-embraced it when he studied the biblical story of the prodigal son.
“So that’s when I was saved,” Long wrote.
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