Atlanta Spa Shooting: Who were the victims shot by Robert Aaron Long? Cops release 5 names including army vet
Xiaojie Tan was the owner of the Young's Asian Massage and appeared to be a hardworking business owner, promoting his parlor on social media
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: At least eight people were killed after shootings took place at three different spas in the Atlanta area on Tuesday, March 16. Police say video evidence led them to believe one suspect, Robert Aaron Long, was responsible for all three shootings. He was arrested on the same night about 150 miles south of Atlanta. On March 17, the police department released the names of the victims.
The first shooting happened shortly before 5 pm on March 16 at Young's Asian Massage near Woodstock, Georgia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. The shooting left four dead. Two were pronounced dead at the scene and two others died at the hospital. One person was also wounded, according to Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities had responded to the scene on reports of a shooting. About an hour later, three people were found dead at the Gold Massage Spa on Piedmont Road in Atlanta, according to Police Chief Rodney Bryant. One person was also found dead at the Aroma Therapy Spa, which was situated across the street.
The two Atlanta spas are on a stretch of Piedmont Road, just off Interstate 85, dotted with strip clubs and spas. About a dozen other spas are located within a mile of Gold Massage and Aroma Therapy. So far, authorities have released the names of those killed in the first shooting at Young’s Asian Massage spa in Acworth, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta.
Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw
Xiaojie Tan was the owner of the Young’s Asian Massage and appeared to be a hardworking business owner, promoting his parlor on social media. Tan was a licensed massage therapist and owned at least one other spa in Atlanta.
This 44-year-old man of Asian descent also lost his life during the attack.
Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez
An article by NY Meg said Yaun was the mother of a 14-year-old son and an eight-month-old daughter, according to her younger sister, who described her as "outgoing". Yaun went to the spa with her husband of less than a year, said Dana Toole, Yaun’s 29-year-old sister. “[Yaun’s daughter] is not even going to get to know her mom,” she said.
She added that she believes it was the couple’s first time at the massage parlor. “How do you explain that?” It is unclear what happened to Yaun’s husband. “She was supposed to be enjoying a fun time with her husband,” Toole said.
Paul Andre Michels
Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta, was a local business owner who had been married for over two decades. His family members said that he was a hardworking Army veteran who owned an electric company. John Michels, his 52-year-old brother who lives in Michigan, told The Daily Beast that his brother was interested in “getting in the massage business” and was looking to own establishments. It’s unclear why he was at the spa.
Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz’s wife, Flor Gonzalez, told the New York Times he called her after he got wounded by the gunman steps away from Young’s Asian Massage. “I’ve been shot!” she recalled him saying. “Please come.” She said her husband has been hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds, including one in his forehead.
Hernandez-Ortiz, who worked as a mechanic, immigrated from Guatemala 10 years ago and the two have been married the entire time. “He’s still alive, he’s fighting for his life,” Gonzales told the Times.
“But the doctors told me that he will have a long recovery after he leaves the hospital.” She added through tears: “Many others died, and my heart breaks for them. Whoever did this is not human.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, March 17, a Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office official said two of those killed were of Asian descent and two of the dead were White. Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz sustained non-life-threatening injuries.