Biden orders flags at half mast at all US federal buildings worldwide to honor victims of Atlanta shooting

JOE Biden has ordered flags to be lowered to half mast at all US federal buildings worldwide to honor the victims of the Atlanta shooting.

The White House said it was "a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence" which killed eight people on Tuesday.


Biden's order further directed attention to the victims, six of whom were of Asian descent.

South Korea have confirmed that four of the victims were of Korean descent.

Of the eight dead, seven were women and one was a man, according to officials.

In a statement, the president described the crime was "very, very troublesome" but said he would make no comment on the motivation of the shooter until the investigation was complete.

It is not yet clear if it was a racially motivated attack, but cops probing the shooting have said that a "hate crime" is not off the table.

The NYPD announced it will deploy officers into Asian communities in response to he shootings and the rising hate crimes against Asian minorities.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was "no question" Donald Trump's use of the phrase "Wuhan virus" during the pandemic helped trigger a rise of hate crimes.

A "sex addict" has been charged over the attacks at the massage parlors.

God-fearing Robert Aaron Long, 21, took responsibility for the shootings and told cops that the parlors were a "temptation that he wanted to eliminate".

Long was arrested on Tuesday night after leading cops on a three-hour car chase, Cherokee County Sheriff's spokesperson Howard J Baker said.

And cops have released the chilling 911 calls from when the alleged gunman attacked.

Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a press conference on Wednesday that Long had potential "sexual addiction" issues.

CNN later reported that a former roommate had claimed the alleged shooter spent time in a sex rehab clinic.

Sheriff Reynolds said that cops believe Long "frequented these places in the past" and that he "may have been lashing out".

They added that Long claimed the attack was not racially motivated.


Police also revealed that Long bought a gun on the day of the spa slaughter.

During a Thursday afternoon press briefing, Atlanta police said that he often went to the locations he targeted and bought a firearm the day of the murders.

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

  • Eight people have died in three separate shootings at a range of massage parlors.
  • The first shooting began at around 5pm on March 16 at the Youngs Asian Massage Parlor.
  • Two people died at the scene, three casualties were transported to the hospital, where another two also died.
  • Nearly an hour later, the gunman began another shooting spree in the Buckhead neighbourhood of Atlanta at Gold Spa.
  • Three women were found dead at the second massage parlor.
  • A fourth woman was shot dead at Aromatherapy Spa, just across the street from Gold Spa.
  • Seven of the eight victims were women and six were Asian, police say.
  • Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested after a lengthy police pursuit that saw his black 2007 Hyundai Tuscon rammed off the road.

The first shooting took place at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, followed by shootings at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta.

In the first shooting, two Asian women, one white woman and a white man were killed while three Asian women were then gunned down at Gold Spa, before an Asian woman was shot dead at Aromatherapy Spa. 

At around 5pm cops responded to reports of a shooting at Young’s Asian Massage, off Bells Ferry Road and Highway 92 in Acworth, where they found five people with gunshot wounds.

Three people were taken to a hospital, where two of them died.

The Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, praised the quick response of authorities in apprehending the offender and offered her sympathies.

She said: "I commend law enforcement for their quick work in arresting a suspect in the tragic shootings on yesterday.

"A motive is still not clear, but a crime against any community is a crime against us all.

"I have remained in close contact with the White House and APD as they work with federal, state and local partners to investigate the suspect who is responsible for this senseless violence in our city."

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton also shared her condolences.

She wrote: "I’m sending prayers today to the families of the people killed and those injured in Atlanta’s horrific attacks.

"The surge in violence against Asian Americans over the last year is a growing crisis.

"We need action from our leaders and within our communities to stop the hate."

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