ATLANTA — It’s been one week since a gunman killed eight people at three different spas in metro Atlanta.
Right now, the families of victims and supporters still have lots of questions about what kind of charges the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, will face.
A court date hasn’t been set yet for Long’s next hearing. His attorney told 11Alive he met with Long last Wednesday at the Cherokee County Detention Center, but at this point, they’re not ready to comment on the specifics of the case. Long waived his first court appearance last week.
Long is facing four counts of murder in Cherokee County, along with one aggravated assault. He’s also faced with four counts of murder for the shootings at the two spas in midtown Atlanta.
Since seven of the eight victims were women, and six of those women were Asian, the question remains if this is a hate crime.
NBC News reported Monday former federal officials said that right now, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support federal hate crime charges. But, local law enforcement agencies previously said nothing is off the table when asked about state hate crime charges, stressing the investigation is still ongoing.
Bret Williams is a former federal prosecutor in New York and Georgia. He said right now, it’s important to pay attention to what evidence is available and where it leads.
“Let the facts lead you to the conclusions about one, whether or not murders were committed, and he should be convicted for that and secondarily, whether it was driven by gender or racial hatred. Let the facts lead you to the conclusions about what the charges ought to be,” said Williams.
Families of victims are still grieving as law enforcement investigates.
Delaina Yaun was killed in Cherokee County. Her husband was also in the spa but was not hurt. Her family said they’re planning her funeral for Tuesday.
The other seven victims are:
- Paul Andre Michels, 54
- Xiaojie Tan, 49
- Daoyou Feng, 44
- Soon Chung Park, 74
- Hyun Jung Grant, 51
- Sun Cha Kim, 69
- Yong Ae Yue
The eight victims are gaining support from all over through online fundraiser accounts. One account has raised nearly $3 million.
The lone shooting victim in Cherokee who survived, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, is still in the hospital recovering, his friend said.