Police say a man suspected of killing eight people - including six women of Asian descent – at massage parlors in and around Atlanta indicated he had issues with sexual addiction, adding that the shooting spree may not have been motivated by racial hatred.
“He claims it was not racially motivated. He has an issue what he claims to be a sex addiction and see these locations as something that allows him to go to these places and it is a temptation for him that he wants to eliminate.”
At a news conference in Atlanta on Wednesday, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said the suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, seems to have visited the spas previously.
"And he may have frequented some of these places in the past."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Long was apprehended while heading to Florida, perhaps to carry out further attacks.
The bloodshed began Tuesday evening when four people were killed and another wounded at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County, about 40 miles north of Atlanta.
Police say the shooter then proceeded to Gold Spa beauty salon in Atlanta where three women were found dead.
As cops arrived at that scene, they learned of yet another killing at a spa just across the street, where one woman was found dead.
Police said one survivor, a man, was in stable condition at a hospital.
The killing spree sparked an outcry from Asian-American rights groups who point to a spike in sometimes-fatal violence directed against their community nationwide.
The FBI is assisting in the investigation.