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Atlanta Spa Shootings Were Hate Crimes, Prosecutor Says

All of the women killed in Atlanta were employees of the massage businesses there, and all had immigrated from South Korea. They were identified as Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; and Hyun Jung Grant, 51.

Ms. Willis filed a notice in court that she will seek hate crime penalties if Mr. Long is convicted of murder. Under a new Georgia law, a prosecutor can ask a jury to determine if a person convicted of a crime was motivated by race or other factors, which carries an additional penalty. Ms. Willis said she believed she is the first prosecutor in the state to seek to use the law since it went into effect last July.

The attacks began on the evening of March 16, when four people were shot and killed at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County. The victims were Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33. The gunman also shot another man, who survived.

Shortly after the first shooting, the police in Atlanta responded to a call about an attack at Gold Spa, another massage business, where they found three women who had been shot and killed. As they were investigating the scene, they were alerted to another shooting, across the street, at Aromatherapy Spa, where they found the last victim, another woman who had been fatally shot.

Sheriff’s deputies stopped Mr. Long about 150 miles south of Atlanta in Crisp County, where he was driving on the highway. A police official later said that investigators believed Mr. Long was planning to attack a business in Florida connected to the pornography industry.

A former roommate at a halfway house said Mr. Long had gone to a Christian addiction center for treatment for his professed “sex addiction,” but could not stop himself from going to massage parlors and paying for sex.

The intention to seek a death sentence is a reversal for Ms. Willis, who was elected as district attorney in November after previously serving in the prosecutor’s office. Ms. Willis said during her campaign that she could not “foresee a case” in which she would seek the death penalty, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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