Asian American communities on edge after deadly shootings

By Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:55 p.m. ET, March 19, 2021
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8:47 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Atlanta mayor says on spa shootings: "I think it's difficult to see it as anything other than a hate crime"

From CNN's Gisela Crespo 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN last night she thinks that Tuesday's spa shootings were a hate crime. 

"It looked like a hate crime to me," Bottoms said during an interview on Anderson Cooper 360. "This was targeted at Asian spas. Six of the women who were killed were Asian so it's difficult to see it as anything but that."

Bottoms added, "There are many areas of hate that are covered within the definition of a hate crime," later adding, "I think it's difficult to see it as anything other than a hate crime." 

The mayor said she's spent the past days reaching out to members of the Asian community in Atlanta "to make sure we have all of the information we need to make sure that our communities are protected," adding the dialogue will continue. 

The 21-year-old suspect, Robert Aaron Long, is in custody in relation to the shootings in Cherokee County, Georgia and the two others in Atlanta. In total, eight people — including six Asian women — died in the three shootings.

Long claimed responsibility for the shooting in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder and a charge of aggravated assault, according to the county sheriff's office. He also has been charged with more four counts of murder, Atlanta Police Department said.


8:13 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Biden and Harris will meet with Asian American leaders in Georgia today

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President Biden and Vice President Harris are heading to Georgia today

The trip that had previously been planned to promote their Covid-19 relief package. But the White House's plan to promote the package took a somber turn after a rampage here this week killed eight people — including six women of Asian descent.

White House officials ended up canceling a planned evening rally intended to help explain the benefits of the law.

The President and vice president are instead set to meet with Asian American leaders. Still, the White House has stopped short of calling the shootings a hate crime, despite calls to do so.