Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on shootings, anti-Asian violence

Lance Bottoms said that the shootings were a 'crime against us all'

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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta has spoken out against the shootings that left eight people dead and called it a crime against the entire community.

Lance Bottoms issued a statement in which she commended the police for quickly arresting the suspect accused of killing eight people, many of whom were of Asian descent.

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested after a series of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead on Tuesday night, including six Asian women. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Read More: Barack Obama condemns ‘needless and devastating killings’ in Atlanta

“A motive is still not clear, but a crime against any community is a crime against us all,” Bottoms said in a statement.

“I have remained in close contact with the White House and [Atlanta Police Department (APD)] as they work with federal, state and local partners to investigate the suspect who is responsible for this senseless violence in our city,” she said. “My prayers are with the families and friends of the victims whose lives were cut short by these shootings.”

The Atlanta mayor also held a press conference in which she further spoke out against the violence. She reiterated that a motive is not yet known but noted that Asians have been targeted since the COVID-19 outbreak last year.

“Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that the majority of the victims were Asian,” she said. “We also know that this is an issue that is happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful and it has to stop.”

She also shared that the alleged gunman may have continued with his crime spree.

“It’s very likely there would have been more victims,” Lance Bottom said.

Read More: Atlanta-area shootings leave 8 dead, many of Asian descent

As theGrio reported, Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested for carrying out the shootings that took place Tuesday. Six of the victims identified as Asian and two others were White.

Long has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in connection to the shootings that took place at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth and Gold Spa in Buckhead, a  neighborhood in Atlanta, and Aromatherapy Spa which is across the street from Gold Spa.

Officials were still investigating what led to the shooting but Sheriff Frank Reynolds, of Cherokee County, indicated that Long claimed he had a “sexual addiction.” Furthermore, Long is accused of having plans to travel to Florida to attack “some type of porn industry.”

Atlanta shooting
Law enforcement officials confer outside a massage parlor following a shooting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

“He made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction, and may have frequented some of these places in the past,” Reynolds said and noted that Long may have visited one of the two places he is accused of carrying out the crimes.

The acting chief of the Atlanta Police Department, Rodney Bryant, demurred on whether the attacks would be classified as a hate crime.

“We are still early in this investigation, so we cannot make that determination at this moment,” Chief Bryant said. “We are just not there as of yet.”

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