The suspect in a series of deadly shootings in the Atlanta area has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault. Law enforcement officials have not yet determined whether race was a factor.
The shootings occurred at three massage parlors. Six of the eight people killed were of Asian descent, but officials say it's too early to call it a hate crime. They say the 21-year-old, who's now in custody and confessed to the shootings, told police he may have had a sex addiction and that he wanted to "eliminate" the temptation.
The FBI has joined the investigation.
While a motive remains unclear, the shootings have brought renewed focus on the mistreatment of many Asian Americans during the pandemic. The group Stop AAPI Hate has documented around 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans, including verbal and physical abuse and civil rights violations over nearly a one-year period beginning last March.
This matter will be at the center of a House Judiciary Committee hearing tomorrow. And Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about it today.
"The investigation is ongoing. We don't yet know we're not yet clear about the motive, but I do want to say to our Asian American community, that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people," Harris said. "But knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and, and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form."
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