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Police Say Atlanta Shootings Were Likely Not Racially Motivated

The shootings began at a parlor about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, followed by two more at parlors in northeastern Atlanta.

Six of the eight people who were shot dead at three metro Atlanta massage parlors on Tuesday were Asian women, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today. Via CNN:

Police have not yet offered a motive in the bloody attacks. But because of many of the victims' backgrounds, some public officials and organizations have raised concerns that ethnicity came into play, against a backdrop of an increase in violence against Asian Americans nationwide.

The shootings -- which happened within the space of about an hour -- began at a parlor about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta. That was followed by two more at parlors in northeastern Atlanta.

South Korea's foreign ministry, which had been in touch with its consulate in Atlanta, has said that four of the victims were of Korean ethnicity.

A 21-year-old suspect was taken into custody about 150 miles south of Atlanta on Tuesday night, and police say they believe he was likely responsible for the three attacks.

Authorities are working to notify the victims' next of kin before releasing names.

UPDATE: (Karoli)

Police held a press conference where they said it's possible the killings were not racially motivated. Via the Washington Post:

Police arrested Robert Aaron Long, 21, after a brief manhunt and said he is the suspect in all three shootings. Authorities said Long took responsibility, and they believe he acted alone. “He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past,” Sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker said at a news conference. “We still have a lot of things to process.”

Baker later added that in their interview with Long, 21, the suspect indicated that the spas were “a temptation” for him. “It’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Baker told reporters. “It’s still early on, but those were comments that he made.”

You have to wonder when the cops bend over backwards to say it's not racially-motivated and also to cushion the seriousness of the crimes this man committed against Asian women, especially when they lead off with this:

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