(GEORGIA) JUST IN: At least 8-people are dead, the majority of them women of Asian descent, after shootings at three massage parlours on Tuesday around 17:00hrs as an investigation is underway #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.17: Authorities did not offer a possible motive for the shooting rampage and said they did not immediately know if the victims were targeted because of their race or ethnicity:

‘Shootings at three massage parlours in US state of Georgia leave at least eight dead and a 21-year-old man who is suspected of committing the attacks was taken into custody in south-west Georgia hours later following a police manhunt’

Posted 5h ago

Blue and red police lights flash on a car parked outside a massage parlour at night time.
Police have not yet offered a motive for the attacks.(AP: Mike Stewart)

The attacks began about 5:00pm Tuesday when five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in a mall near a rural area in Acworth, about 50 kilometres north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jay Baker said.

Robert Aaron Long looks into the camera with a blank expression.
Police say they are “very confident” Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the Acworth shooting, is behind all three attacks. (AP: Via Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office )

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

Mr Baker said two women of Asian descent were among the dead, along with a white woman and a white man.

He said the surviving victim was a Hispanic man.

About 5:50pm, police in the Buckhead neighbourhood of Atlanta found three women dead from apparent gunshot injuries at Gold Spa after responding to a call about a robbery.

While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at Aromatherapy Spa, which was across the street. 

They 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.

The killings come amid a wave of attacks against Asian Americans that has coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the US.Loading

Following the Georgia attacks, the hashtag #StopAsianHate began trending on Twitter.

“Our entire family is praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence,” Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp said on Twitter.

“Once again we see that hate is deadly,” newly elected Georgia senator Reverend Raphael Warnock tweeted.

“Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community.”Loading

A man suspected in the Acworth shooting was captured by surveillance video pulling up to the business about 4:50pm on Tuesday, minutes before the attack, authorities said.

Mr Baker said the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, was taken into custody in Crisp County, about 240 kilometres south of Atlanta.

He said investigators were “very confident” the same suspect was the gunman in all three shootings. 

Police said video footage showed the suspect’s vehicle in the area of the Atlanta spas about the time of those attacks as well.

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.

Aromatherapy Spa
Police were at the scene of the second shooting when they were called to the third shooting site, which was just across the street. (AP: Brynn Anderson)

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said in a video posted on Facebook his deputies and state troopers were notified about 8:00pm that a murder suspect out of north Georgia was headed toward their county.

Deputies and troopers set up along the interstate and “made contact with the suspect”, who was driving a 2007 black Hyundai Tucson, around 8:30pm, he said.

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

Mr Long was then taken into custody “without incident”.

Sheriff Hancock said the suspect was held in the Crisp County jail ahead of the arrival of Cherokee County authorities.

Due to the shootings, Atlanta police said they dispatched officers to check nearby similar businesses and increased patrols in the area.

AP/Reuters/ABC

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.17: 2021:

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