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Georgia US senators commemorate 2-year anniversary of Atlanta spa shootings

Sen. Raphael Warnock, Sen. Jon Ossoff
via Sen. Raphael Warnock, Sen. Jon Ossoff

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    On Wednesday, Georgia U.S. Sens. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff commemorated the second anniversary of the deadly Atlanta-area spa shootings.

    The tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of eight people, occurred at massage parlors in Fulton and Cherokee Counties on March 16, 2021. Six of the victims were Asian women: Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44.

    “It was two years ago today that a hateful act of violence shook metropolitan Atlanta, reverberated across our state, our nation and the world in a span of a few hours,” Warnock said on the Senate floor. “Our sense of safety and sanctuary was ripped apart by bullets born of hate and fear.”

    Paul Andre Michels, 54, and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, were also killed in the shootings.

    Robert Aaron Long, the alleged gunman, pleaded guilty to the four murders in Cherokee County, resulting in four life sentences without parole. He blamed his actions on a “sex addiction,” which relieved him of hate crime charges.

    However, Long pleaded not guilty to the other four murders in Fulton County. He faces the death penalty for those crimes.

    At the Senate floor, Warnock read the victims’ names, highlighted the rise in anti-Asian hate and vowed to continue to support Asian Americans.

    “So I want to say to my AAPI sisters and brothers, I want to say to all of my neighbors that I see you,” Warnock said. “I will continue to stand with you against hate and violence. Let us continue working together to stop Asian hate, the scapegoating.”

    Meanwhile, Ossoff paid tribute to the victims in a pre-recorded video, assuring Asian American constituents of his support.

    Georgians stand united against hatred and bigotry, and in solidarity and support of Georgia’s Asian American community. To all Asian Americans in Georgia, please know that I am here to serve you, and I stand with you in defiance of hatred, bigotry and intimidation.

    Ossoff added that he will continue working toward public safety for all communities in Georgia, inviting anyone in need to reach out to his office.

    Stand with Asian Americans, in partnership with various other Asian American groups, has co-organized synchronous events in five cities to commemorate the shootings on Thursday. The rallies will not only mourn the tragedy’s victims, but also those who lost their lives in the more recent Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay shootings.

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