Police confirmed on Thursday that Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in Tuesday's shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors that left eight dead, had been a customer of at least two of the sites—Aromatherapy Spa and Gold Spa. Authorities don't know or aren't saying whether Long had received more than a massage at either place, per the New York Times. Timeline-wise, police and a friend who talked to the Washington Post say Long, 21, had been kicked out of his parents' home the night before the attack. Per their accounts, Long's parents had become fed up with his obsession with sex, which led to him viewing porn for hours online and visiting the massage parlors, which have been rumored to offer sexual services. His family also backed up his claims of sex addiction, noting he'd gone to rehab for it.
Police say Long bought a handgun on Tuesday, the day after he was booted out of his home, and headed first to Youngs Asian Massage in Acworth, where the shootings started around 5pm. Although Long has told police the shootings weren't racially motivated, the Post notes they've "hit the country where it hurt most—in its anguished struggles over race, gender, and the allure of gun violence." The Times notes that many view the shootings as "the culmination of a racialized misogyny" long directed toward Asian American women. Still, Tyler Bayless, one of Long's former roommates from his 2019 stint at an Atlanta halfway house, says he was shocked to hear his former roommate was a suspect in the shootings, per CNN. "I'll never forget him looking at me and saying, 'I'm falling out of God's grace," he tells the Times, noting his ex-roommate had been plagued by a "religious mania" (more here on that). Long, who has been charged with eight counts of murder, is being held without bail. (Read more Robert Aaron Long stories.)