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Atlanta: Tribute to victims of spa shootings

Nearly one year ago, eight people were killed by a mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas. Many of the victims were women of Asian descent. On Saturday, community members gathered to pay their respects at a memorial tribute.

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Atlanta: Tribute to victims of spa shootings

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that more than 150 people met in a park to hear family members of victims and members from Atlanta's Asian American community talk about the shootings.

Robert Peterson addressed the mourners in Atlanta, whose mother, Yong Ae Yue was shot and killed.

"I miss her food. She was always waiting at the door for us when we arrived. According to Peterson's newspaper account, "I just miss all the small things she took for granted when we were here," Peterson stated.

Families of victims have written letters to express their grief and the impact the shooting had on them and their families.

When it was revealed that six of eight victims of the shooting were Asian-American women, the shooting galvanized the Asian American community.

Among those killed were: Xiaojie Tan (49); Daoyou Feng (44); and Delaina Yanun (33); and Paul Michels (54); Suncha Kim (69); Soon Chung Park (74); Hyun Jung Grant (51); and Yong Ae Yue (63).

Police said that Robert Aaron Long, then 21 years old, opened fire on Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County last March 16. The shooting killed four people, two of whom were of Asian descent. According to authorities, a fifth victim was also wounded.

Long drove then to Atlanta where he killed three women at Gold Spa, before killing another. According to authorities, Long also crossed the street to Aromatherapy Spa, and shot and killed another woman. All victims in Atlanta were of Asian descent.

At the time, authorities stated that Long claimed his actions were not motivated by racism and were instead triggered by a "sex addiction," which provoked outrage and skepticism in the Asian American community.

Long pleaded guilty last July to murder and other charges in Cherokee County. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Long, 22 years old, still faces murder charges in the Atlanta killings. The Fulton County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty. Long has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Fulton County. A hearing is set for the next month.

Fani Willis, District Attorney, stated that she believes Long was motivated by race and gender. She is seeking an enhancement in sentencing under the state's hate crime law.


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