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Suspect in US mass shooting is pastor's son

by Will Maule
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Source: Twitter

Police have arrested a 21-year-old man after eight people were shot dead in a series of shootings at massage parlours in the US state of Georgia. 

Robert Aaron Long was detained after four women were found dead at two parlours in the Atlanta area. The other four victims were shot dead at a parlour 30 miles away in the city of Acworth. 

Atlanta police say that Long was arrested after a "brief pursuit" which ended in the suspect's car spinning out. They say it is "extremely likely" that the same person was responsible for all three shootings.

US politicians have been condemning the attack and offering condolences to the families of the victims, with Democrat Ted Lieu addressing the rise of Asian-American racism. 

"These murders occurred at a time when anti-Asian violence has been spiking," he said. "All officials should do their part to condemn violence and not inflame further discrimination." 

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said it was "horrified" by the crime, especially "at a time when we’re already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence".

Georgia governor Brian Kemp said that his entire family was "praying for the victims of these horrific acts of violence".

On his Instagram page, Long declared his "love for God and guns" and is reportedly the son of a youth pastor. 

A student who went to school with the suspect told the Daily Beast that he "didn't seem violent". 

"He was very innocent seeming and wouldn't even cuss," they explained. "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."

In a 2018 video produced for his church, Crabapple First Baptist Church, Long talked about his faith.

"By the grace of God I was able to draw the connection there and realise this is a story between what happened with me and God. I ran away living completely for myself, and he still wants me, and so that's when I was saved," he said. 

The church said it was "grieved to hear the tragic news". 

"We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them," it added. "Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well." 

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