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Horror attacks Eight dead after shootings at Atlanta massage parlours

A 21-year-old man was taken into custody in south-west Georgia hours later after a manhunt, police said.

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Authorities investigate a fatal shooting at a massage parlour (Mike Stewart/AP)

Authorities investigate a fatal shooting at a massage parlour (Mike Stewart/AP)

Authorities investigate a fatal shooting at a massage parlour (Mike Stewart/AP)

Shootings at three massage parlours in the Atlanta area have left eight people dead, many of them women of Asian descent, authorities said.

A 21-year-old man was taken into custody in south-west Georgia hours later after a manhunt, police said.

Police confirmed on Wednesday that the suspect is white.

The attacks began at around 5pm on Tuesday when five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlour near Woodstock, 50 miles north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Jay Baker said.

Two people died at the scene and three were taken to hospital where two more died, Mr Baker said.

Police in the Buckhead neighbourhood of Atlanta, responding to a call of a robbery in progress, later found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa.

While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at another site across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman who appeared to have been shot dead inside the business.

“It appears that they may be Asian,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in statement that its diplomats in Atlanta have confirmed with police that four of the people who died were women of Korean descent.

The ministry said the office of its Consulate General in Atlanta is trying to confirm the nationality of the women.

Police said the motive was not immediately known, but the ethnicity of many of the victims prompted fears that the killings could be another hate crime against Asian Americans.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the “horrific shootings” and administration officials have been in contact with the mayor’s office and the FBI.

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Authorities investigate a shooting near Atlanta (Mike Stewart/AP)

Authorities investigate a shooting near Atlanta (Mike Stewart/AP)

Authorities investigate a shooting near Atlanta (Mike Stewart/AP)

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The killings came amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of coronavirus across the US.

“Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence,” governor Brian Kemp said.

A man suspected in the Acworth shooting was captured by surveillance video pulling up to the business minutes before the attack, authorities said.

Mr Baker said the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, of Woodstock, was taken into custody in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.

He added that officers believe Long is also the suspect in the Atlanta shootings.

Police said video footage showed the suspect’s vehicle in the area of the Atlanta spas about the time of those attacks. That, as well as other video evidence, “suggests it is extremely likely our suspect is the same as Cherokee County’s, who is in custody”, Atlanta police said in a statement.

FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said the agency was assisting Atlanta and Cherokee County authorities in the investigation.

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The scene of another shooting (Brynn Anderson/AP)

The scene of another shooting (Brynn Anderson/AP)

The scene of another shooting (Brynn Anderson/AP)

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said in a video posted on Facebook that his deputies and state troopers had been notified that a murder suspect out of north Georgia was heading towards their county.

Officers set up along the interstate and “made contact with the suspect”, who was driving a 2007 black Hyundai Tucson, he said.

A state trooper performed a pursuit intervention manoeuvre “which caused the vehicle to spin out of control”, Mr Hancock said.

Long was then taken into custody “without incident” and was being held in Crisp County jail for Cherokee County authorities who were expected to arrive later to continue their investigation.

Atlanta police said they had dispatched officers to check similar businesses and increased patrols in the area.

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