Shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors have left at least eight people dead, authorities said on Tuesday. A 21-year-old man was taken into custody in south-west Georgia hours later, following a search.
The shootings occurred shortly after one another on Tuesday afternoon. Four people were killed at a massage parlor in Cherokee county, about 30 miles north-west of Atlanta, followed by shootings at two other massage parlors in Atlanta that sit across the street from one another.
Rodney Bryant, the Atlanta police chief, said all four victims at the two Atlanta spas were female and “it appears that they may be Asian”.
Police said it was too early to tell whether the shootings were linked but that they were looking into the possibility.
A suspect was taken into custody on Tuesday night in Crisp county, which lies about 150 miles outside Atlanta. The suspect was identified by authorities as Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia.
Police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting.
Atlanta police officers responded to a call of a robbery in progress at one spa around 5.50pm and found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds, police said. While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at another spa across the street and found a woman who appeared to have been shot dead inside the business.
Earlier, around 5pm, five people were shot at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, Cherokee county, Baker said. Two of the victims were dead and three were transported to a hospital where two of them also died, Baker said.
Authorities were not immediately releasing the gender or race of the victims, said Jay Baker, the spokesperson for the Cherokee county sheriff’s office.
Baker said they believed Long was also the suspect in the Atlanta shootings.
The suspect was captured by surveillance video pulling up to the business around 4.50pm Tuesday, minutes before the shooting, authorities said.
Atlanta police said they dispatched officers to check nearby similar businesses and increased patrols in the area.