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Stigmas on race, gender and sex overlap in Atlanta slayings

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 1:56 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (AP) - The names of four additional victims in the Atlanta-area spa shootings have been released.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday that the four victims are 74-year-old Soon C. Park, 51-year-old Hyun J. Grant, 69-year-old Suncha Kim and 63-year-old Yong A. Yue.

Grant’s son, Randy Park, identified his mother by her maiden name, Hyun Jung Kim.

The medical examiner performed autopsies on all four victims Wednesday, saying all but Suncha Kim died Tuesday from gunshots to the head. Suncha Kim died from a gunshot to the chest.

Three of the women died at the Gold Spa in Atlanta. The fourth woman died across the street at Aromatherapy Spa. The medical examiner didn’t immediately say which woman died at Aromatherapy.

A 21-year-old white man, Robert Aaron Long, is charged with murder in Tuesday’s slayings.

He’s also accused of killing four people and wounding a fifth person at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor near Woodstock, in Atlanta’s northwestern suburbs.

Police said Thursday that “nothing is off the table” in the investigation of the deadly shootings, including whether the slayings were a hate crime.

Six of those killed were women of Asian descent.

Seven were women.

The suspect, according to police, appeared to blame his actions on a “sex addiction.”

While the U.S. has seen mass killings in recent years where police said gunmen had racist or misogynist motivations, advocates and scholars say the shootings this week at three Atlanta-area massage businesses targeted a group of people marginalized in more ways than one. It’s a crime that stitches together stigmas about race, gender, migrant work and sex work.

The attacks and a third one near the suburban town of Woodstock killed eight people and prompted President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to change their plans for a previously scheduled trip to Atlanta. The pair postponed a political event in favor of meeting Friday with Asian American community leaders.

Asian American Christian leaders say their congregations are saddened and outraged by the attacks.

And they’re calling for action beyond just prayers.

Some plan to join the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, hoping to discuss racial issues and provide funeral assistance for families of the victims.

Kevin Park is associate pastor at Korean Central Presbyterian Church.

He says there is a need “to stand up together and reach out to communities that are hurting, not only Asian American communities, but other communities of color.”

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