All eight victims of the deadly shooting rampage targeting three Georgia massage spas have been identified by Friday and were found to include an Army veteran, a newlywed and hardworking single mother-of-two.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with murdering four people at two spas in Atlanta and four more in a spa in Cherokee County on Tuesday.
Long, who was said to be customer at two out of the three targeted spas, told police on Wednesday that the attacks were not racially motivated, but had to do with his sex and pornography addiction, and his purported desire to eliminate the sources of his temptation.
Law enforcement officials in Atlanta and Cherokee County on Thursday said they have not ruled out that the attack was a hate crime and were actively investigating that, stressing that ‘nothing is off the table.’
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Delaina Yaun, 34, was married mom-of-two who had arranged a spa day with her husband to relax from taking care of their new baby. She was killed but her husband escaped alive
A makeshift memorial is seen Friday in Acworth, Georgia, in the aftermath of shootings targeting three massage parlors in the area that killed eight people
Their statements came after Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt Jay Baker sparked widespread condemnation for saying during a news conference Wednesday that the 21-year-old suspect had had ‘a really bad day’ and ‘this is what he did.’
Some activists had called for Baker to be fired over both his comments and the discovery of a Facebook post that Baker appeared to have written to promote a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus.
On Thursday, Baker was replaced as the spokesman in the Long investigation, after Sheriff Frank Reynolds issued a statement acknowledging that some of the captain’s comments stirred ‘much debate and anger’ and said the agency regrets any ‘heartache’ caused by his words.
By Friday afternoon, all eight deceased victims have been formally identified as: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Soon C. Park, 44; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69, and 63-year-old Yong Yue.
Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz, 30. was shot in the throat, forehead, lungs and stomach, but survived.
The medical examiner performed autopsies on Kim, Yue, Grant and Park on Wednesday and concluded that all but Kim died from gunshots to the head. The 69-year-old woman died from a gunshot to the chest.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with murdering four people at two spas in Atlanta and four more in a spa in Cherokee County on Tuesday
Three of the women died at the Gold Spa in Atlanta. The fourth woman died across the street at Aromatherapy Spa. The medical examiner didn’t immediately say which woman died at Aromatherapy.
For Delania Yuan, Tuesday was planned as a day of relaxation from mommy duties.
Yaun and her newlywed husband arranged for someone to care for their 8-month daughter while they headed to Young’s Asian Massage. Family members said the couple were first-time customers, eager for a chance to unwind.
They were in separate rooms inside the spa when the gunman opened fire. Yaun was killed. Her husband escaped unharmed.
‘They’re innocent. They did nothing wrong,’ Yaun’s weeping mother, Margaret Rushing, told WAGA-TV. ‘I just don´t understand why he took my daughter.’
Yaun’s husband could hear the gunfire inside the spa but was helpless to save his wife, said Dana Toole, Yaun’s sister.
‘He’s taking it hard,’ Toole said. ‘When you´re in a room and gunshots are flying, what do you do?’
Paul Michel, 54, was an Army veteran who was installing a security system at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County when he was shot dead
This October 2015 photo shows Paul, right, posing with his sister Sarah Michels and his brother John in Allen Park, Michigan
Also killed at Young’s massage parlor was Paul Andre Michels, a US Army veteran who operated a business installing security systems – a trade he learned after moving to the Atlanta area more than 25 years ago. He´d been talking about switching to a new line of work.
‘From what I understand, he was at the spa that day doing some work for them,’ said Michels’ younger brother, John Michels, of Commerce, Michigan.
Paul Michels also might have been talking with the spa’s owner about how the business operates, his brother said, because he had been thinking about opening a spa himself.
‘His age caught up to him. You get to a point where you get tired of climbing up and down ladders,’ John Michels said. ‘He was actually looking to start his own massage spa. That’s what he was talking about last year.’
Paul Michels grew up in Detroit in a large family where he was the seventh of nine children. His brother John was No. 8.
Xiaojie Tan, 49 (right), was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage spa; she is survived by her daughter Jami Webb (left), a recent University of Georgia graduate
Tan, known as Emily to her friends, was of Chinese descent. She would have turned 50 on Thursday
Jami Webb, Tan’s daughter, is consoled by her father Michael Webb outside Young’s Asian Massage on Friday
Though they were born 2 1/2 years apart, ‘he was basically my twin,’ John Michels said. Both enlisted in the Army after high school, with Paul joining the infantry.
A few years after leaving the military, Paul followed his brother to the Atlanta area in 1995 for a job doing low-voltage electrical work, installing phones and security systems. He also met his wife, Bonnie, and they were married more than 20 years.
‘He was a good, hard-working man who would do what he could do to help people,’ John Michels said. ‘He’d loan you money if you needed it sometimes. You never went away from his place hungry.’
Tan, the owner of Young’s Asian spa, lived in Kennesaw, Georgia, and is survived by a daughter who is a recent University of Georgia graduate. She would have turned 50 on Thursday.
Tan, known as Emily to her friends, was of Chinese descent, her friend and customer of six years, Greg Hynson, told The Washington Post.
‘She was a very good friend, a kind, sweet person,’ he said.
People view a makeshift memorial on Friday outside Gold Spa in Atlanta
Natalie Villasana lays flowers as people rally against anti-Asian racism and violence against women and march to the scene of two of the massage parlor shootings in Atlanta Thursday
This map shows the locations of the three shootings in the Atlanta area and the place where Long was ultimately arrested
Shooting victim Hyun Grant (left) came from South Korea with her two sons (pictured) and was raising them on her own
Grant’s son Randy Park, 22, talks on Friday about his loss. He said his mother was one of his best friends
Hyun Jung Grant was among those killed at Gold Massage Spa in Atlanta. Her son Randy Park described the 51-year-old woman on a GoFundMe page as a ‘single mother who dedicated her whole life to providing for my brother and I.’
Park, 22, wrote that his mother came with him and his brother from South Korea, and the rest of their family is still there.
‘She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today,’ he wrote movingly. ‘Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world.’
Park added that he has not time to grieve for his mother because he has to plane her funeral and look after his brother while dealing with problems related to the family’s housing situation and financial woes. By Friday, Park’s fundraiser has drawn more than $1million in donation, prompting him to write a lengthy update expressing his boundless gratitude to his many well-wishers.
‘I don’t know how any word I write here will ever convey how grateful and blessed I am to receive this much support,’ he wrote. ‘To put it bluntly, I can’t believe you guys exist.’
Grant loved disco and club music, often strutting or moonwalking while doing household chores and jamming with her sons to tunes blasting over the car stereo.
The single mother found ways to enjoy herself despite working ‘almost every day’ to support sons, Park said.
‘I learned how to moonwalk because, like, I saw her moonwalking while vacuuming when I was a kid,’ Park said.
On Tuesday night, Park was at home playing video games when he heard a gunman had opened fire at the Atlanta massage business where his mother worked. He rushed to the scene and then to a police station to find out more information. But it was through word of mouth that he learned his mother was dead.
Moments later he’s seen rushing back to his vehicle, hops in and speeds off to continue his massacre at two other Atlanta area spas
Within minutes the video shows a few lucky survivors exiting the spa, followed by the arrival of cops and paramedics as one victim is seen on the sidewalk with blood flowing from a bullet wound to the head
Exclusive video obtained by DailyMail.com shows gunman Robert Aaron Long parked outside Young’s Asian Massage Parlor Tuesday afternoon and eerily watching people enter before he stepped inside and opened fired, killing four
Authorities have said Long told them he wasn’t motivated by race. Park dismissed the idea that the shootings weren’t fueled by anti-Asian sentiment. Still, he said that his mother raised him to believe that people are fundamentally good, though ‘sometimes, things go horribly wrong.’
Her job was a sensitive subject, Park said, noting the stigma often associated with massage businesses. She told her sons that they should tell others she worked doing makeup with her friends.
Ultimately, Park said, he didn’t care what she did for work.
‘She loved me and my brother enough to work for us, to dedicate her whole life,’ he said. ‘That’s enough.’
Meanwhile, more information has been coming out about the suspected shooter, who was described by those who knew him as a devout Christian and the son of a youth minister who had been in rehabilitation for his sex addiction.
Tyler Bayless, 35, told Reuters that he spent several months living at the Atlanta halfway house for recovering addicts with Long.
Bayless, who says he was being treated for drug addiction, said he was in a halfway house named Maverick Recovery with Long in late 2019 and early 2020, and last saw Long last February.
He said Long had been treated for sex addiction and that he frequented massage parlors for ‘explicitly sexual activity.’ Bayless said Long was ‘deeply religious’ and would become ‘very emotionally distraught that he frequented these places.’
Captain Jay Baker said on Wednesday that the shooter had had a ‘very bad day’ and was ‘at the end of his rope’. Sheriff Frank Reynolds released a statement Thursday acknowledging that some of Baker´s comments stirred ‘much debate and anger’ and said the agency regrets any ‘heartache’ caused by his words
On Friday, Long’s church, the Crabapple First Baptist Church, posted a lengthy statement on its website, announcing that he has been ejected from the congregation over his ‘extreme and wicked act.’
‘Aaron’s actions are antithetical to everything that we believe and teach as a church,’ the church leaders wrote. ‘In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the actions of Aaron Long as well as his stated reasons for carrying out this wicked plan. The shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice, and such actions are completely unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.’
President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered all American flags at all public buildings to be flown at half-staff to remember the victims of the massacre.
He directed that flags be flown at half-staff through sunset Monday in honor of the dead.