A 21-year-old arrested after a mass shooting rocked the city of Atlanta has been described as ‘innocent seeming’ and ‘big into God.’
Eight people were killed on Tuesday, including at least six Asian women, following a string of shootings at massage parlours and spas in the Atlanta area.
In a news conference, Atlanta police said all four victims from two of the three locations were female and appeared to be Asian.
There is no known motive but police are investigating if the shootings were spurred by racism.
After a manhunt officers arrested a suspect, who police said was ‘extremely likely’ to have been involved in all of the shootings.
The suspect, who remains in custody, has been identified as Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia.
The Daily Beast reports that someone who knew Long described him as ‘nerdy’ who didn’t seem violent.
Speaking to the publication an anonymous student who graduated from Sequoyah High with Long in 2017 said: “He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss.
“He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor.
“He was big into religion.”
An unconfirmed Instagram account that reportedly belonged to Long also read as the tag line: “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God.
“This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.”
Police have not yet speculated about any motive but said in a statement that it was ‘extremely likely’ all of the attacks were linked.
Investigations remain ongoing.
South Korea’s Consulate General in Atlanta reportedly sent consular staff members to check if there were any other native causalities in the shootings, the ministry said.
Democrat senator Ted Lieu has taken to social media to condemn the atrocity and said it came at a time when anti-Asian violence was on the rise.
He said: “My heart goes out to the families of the victims of another mass shooting. Many of the victims are Asian.
“These murders occurred at a time when anti-Asian violence has been spiking. All officials should do their part to condemn violence and not inflame further discrimination.”