On Tuesday evening, eight people were shot to death at three massage parlours in Atlanta, Georgia, raising fears that the Atlanta spa shootings victims are probably of Asian descent. Six of the women killed were Asian, and the Atlanta spa shootings gunman was identified as 21-year-old, Robert Aaron Long. Soon after the Atlanta spa shootings made headlines, several NBA stars took to social media to speak up against the hate crime against Asians in the USA.
The horrific Atlanta killings of eight people took place on Tuesday, March 16 at Young's Asian Massage in Acworth, Cherokee County. It was later revealed that two people died at the scene and three were taken to hospital, where two more died. The local sheriff confirmed that two of the victims were Asian women, a white woman and a white man while another Hispanic man had been wounded.
Last night’s tragic events in Atlanta are part of a disturbing rise in violence and discrimination towards Asian Americans. Today and every day, we stand with the Asian community and condemn all acts of hate and racism. To learn more visit https://t.co/OBgYvw5lEh. #StopAsianHateMarch 17, 2021
The names of the four victims had been released on Wednesday as police confirmed that Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were among the deceased. It is believed that four other women who were shot dead, were also of Asian background.
Soon after the Atlanta spa shootings grabbed headlines, former and current NBA stars took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter. Former NBA and current Santa Cruz Warriors star Jeremy Lin, who is of Chinese descent, wrote, "This is sooo heartbreaking...praying for our world. To my Asian American family, please take time to grieve but know you're loved, seen and IMPORTANT. We have to keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together and fighting for change. We cannot lose hope! #StopAsianHate"
This is sooo heartbreaking...praying for our world. To my Asian American family, please take time to grieve but know youre loved, seen and IMPORTANT. We have to keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together and fighting for change. We cannot lose hope!! â¤ï¸#StopAsianHate #NOW https://t.co/Xm4ojbJALw— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 17, 2021
The NBA also released a statement over the incident, along with several other teams. Four-time NBA champion LeBron James, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and Sixers' Tobias Harris were among the many that spoke against the tragedy.
My condolences goes out to the families of all the victims and the entire Asian community tonight on what transpired in Atlanta at the Aromatherapy Spa. Coward a** young man!! Just senseless and tragic!! ðð¾â¤ï¸ð— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 17, 2021
SICK about what happened here in ATL yesterday, my Condolences go out to the family’s & loved ones who were affected by this tragedyð Nothing else needs to be said... I’m with you!â¤ï¸— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) March 17, 2021
STOP ASIAN HATE!!!!!!
Sending love, support, and solidarity to the Asian community. We cannot accept hate in any form and must all do our part to be better people. #StopAsianHate— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) March 17, 2021
According to reports from CNN, the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, faces multiple counts of murder as well as aggravated assault. However, officials cannot yet confirm if racism was the Atlanta shootings reason. While the attack came amid a sharp uptick in crimes against Asian-Americans, it is suggested that the shooter, himself, denied that the killings were motivated by race. The local sheriff revealed that "Mr Long was caught with a 9mm handgun and did not resist arrest."