Georgia sheriff says still investigating spa shootings, won't comment further

Dan Whitcomb
·1 min read
Robert Aaron Long, 21, poses in a jail booking photograph after he was taken into custody by the Crisp County Sheriff's Office in Cordele

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) -A county sheriff said on Monday that his office is still investigating the killing of eight people at three Atlanta-area spas last week after murder charges were filed against a 21-year-old man.

Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a written statement that despite interest "across the country and around the world" in the case, his department would not comment further on the investigation.

"Our main focus is investigating this heinous crime and ensuring all facts and evidence are gathered to present to the District Attorney of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit for prosecution," Reynolds said.

Robert Aaron Long was taken into custody following a chase by police hours after the shooting rampage last Tuesday and charged with eight counts of murder.

Police have said they are still trying to determine a motive behind the shooting, which has heightened fears among Asian Americans already rattled by a rise in hate crimes directed at them. Among those killed were six Asian-American women.

Investigators say Long suggested that he acted out of sexual frustration. FBI Director Robert Wray told NPR in an interview last week that race did not appear to be a factor.

The Cherokee County office said Long faces 'malice murder' and aggravated assault charges. Malice murder is an offence in the state of Georgia, alleging implied or express malice.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Grant McCool and Rosalba O'Brien)