Atlanta Shooting

March 30, 2021

“Worst mass killing in the U.S. in almost two years.”

The latest on a Georgia shooting in the national spotlight.

The facts we know – the ones we don’t – and the context that matters.

The Details:

Who: 8 people shot and killed (7 women, 1 man). At least 6 of the victims were Asian women. 21-year-old Robert Long, a white man, has been arrested and is in custody.

What: 3 local massage parlors and spas.

Where: Atlanta area, Georgia.

When: Tuesday evening.

“They’re very distraught, and they were very helpful in this apprehension.”

Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds says Long’s parents recognized his photo and aided in his arrest. Investigators report Long says he has a “sex addiction” and was targeting sites of temptation. A mass killing is defined as one resulting in the death of four or more people (not including the perpetrator), according to a database complied by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University tracking these crimes.

Something To Consider:

  • Initial reports: Crime was racially motivated.
  • 24 hours after the attack investigators say it’s too early to confirm motive.
  • Broader context: The shooting comes amid reports of a wave of violent and verbal attacks against Asian Americans during the pandemic. A new report details nearly 3,800 “hate incidents” in the last year against Asian Americans, the majority targeting women.
“We’re not yet clear about the motive. But I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people.”

Vice Pres. Kamala Harris, the nation’s first VP of South Asian descent, joined Pres. Biden in condemning the shooting. Prior to Tuesday’s shooting, Congress scheduled a hearing for tomorrow on the rise of discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

What To Know:

  • Under federal law, a hate crime is one motivated in whole or in part by a bias against a disability, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. The FBI’s 2020 hate crime report is not yet available.
  • Most states, including Georgia, have hate crime laws which add a penalty enhancement for crimes motivated by hate (what *qualifies* under that varies state to state).

THIS IS A QUICKLY DEVELOPING STORY. Investigators say Long, who was charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, planned to continue his crime spree in neighboring Florida to target “some type of porn industry.” The FBI is working alongside local law enforcement in the investigation.


What To Know About Mass Shootings

by Jenna Lee,