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A Georgia sheriff has come under fire after he commented that the alleged shooter that left eight dead at three Atlanta-area spas was having a 'very bad day'.
Robert Long, the 21-year-old suspect, is accused of going on a shooting rampage at three different locations that left eight people dead, including six Asian individuals.
Long allegedly told officers he had targeted the spas because he was suffering from sex addiction and wanted to 'eliminate' the temptation.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Cherokee County Sheriff's Captain Jay Baker seemingly excused the horrific behaviour of the alleged shooter, saying: "I spoke with investigators, they interviewed him this morning. And they got that impression, yes -- he understood the gravity of it.
"And he was pretty much fed up and had been, kind of, at the end of his rope. And yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did," Baker said.
At a news conference, a law enforcement official says early indications are that Atlanta-area mass shooter Robert Aaron Long may have been motivated by issues stemming from "sexual addiction," not racism -- but he cautions that the investigation is in an early stage pic.twitter.com/jCyDGyZxQ7- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2021
The reaction to the shocking comments was swift, with many taking to social media to criticise the incredibly tone-deaf choice of words.
Eliza Orlins, a candidate for Manhattan district attorney, wrote on Twitter: "As a public defender, I've had cops call a young client of mine names I refuse to repeat for sleeping on a train platform. Two. Systems. Of. Justice."
Human rights lawyer and former candidate for Congress Qasim Rashid added: "This is rage-inducing. Not even 24hrs since he killed 8 people & a Cop apologises for him."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned the attacks at a hearing on Thursday, saying: "The fear in the Asian American community and the threat of violence against its members should be a topic of national conversation.
"It's up to us to speak out against it and to act against it," he said
Following the growing backlash, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds defended Baker in a statement, saying: "Captain Baker had a difficult task before him, and this was one of the hardest in his twenty-eight years in law enforcement.
"I have known and served with Captain Baker for many years. His personal ties to the Asian community and his unwavering support and commitment to the citizens of Cherokee County are well known to many," he continued.
"On behalf of the dedicated women and men of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office we regret any heartache Captain Baker's words may have caused."
Long has since been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in connection to the violent shootings.
Georgia authorities are continuing to investigate the shootings, which could be classified as a hate crime.
Featured Image Credit: Crisp County Sheriff's Office
Topics: US News
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