© Reuters. A general view of Robert Aaron Long’s home following the fatal shootings at three day spas in Creek Hollow, Woodstock
By Nathan Layne and Rich McKay
(Reuters) – The Georgia man arrested in connection with shootings at day spas in the Atlanta area that killed eight people graduated from high school north of the Georgian capital in 2017 and attended a Baptist church in the area.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, was arrested Tuesday night and held in a Cherokee County detention center. His mug shot, released by the authorities, showed him with a goatee, short hair on the sides of his head and longer hair on the top, some of which reached his eyes.
She graduated from Sequoyah High School in Canton, Georgia in 2017, according to a spokeswoman for the Cherokee County School District.
The Daily Beast reported that an Instagram account that seemed to belong to Long but was no longer active had a tagline that read, “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family and God. That sums up my life pretty well . It’s a pretty good life. “
Authorities said they had no early indications that Tuesday’s shootings were racially motivated. Six of the eight victims were women of Asian origin. A white woman and a white man were also among those killed. Long is white.
Officials said Long said he may have visited the spas where violence broke out on Tuesday, although authorities could not immediately confirm that he had visited any of them in the past. Officials said Long may have struggled with a sexual addiction, which he cited as his motive for violence, mainly directed against minority women.
Elders from Crabapple First Baptist Church, which Long attended in nearby Milton, Georgia, issued a statement expressing their grief over the shootings.
“We are heartbroken for everyone involved. We mourn the victims and their families and continue to pray for them,” the statement said. “We are also disturbed by the long family and continue to pray for them.”
The church appeared to have disabled its Facebook page (NASDAQ :), which included a video clip from 2018 of Long talking about his baptismal and youth group in seventh grade when a speaker discussed the Biblical parable of the prodigal on Daily Beast.
“The son goes away and wastes everything he has and lives all to himself. When he then realizes that he wants to eat pork feed, he realizes that something is wrong and goes back to his father and his father runs back to him and hugs him, “Long said in the clip. “And by the grace of God I was able to make the connection there and see that this is a story between what happened to me and God.”
Long’s family did not respond to a request for comment. The family facilitated the arrest, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
Reuters visited the address given on the public records for the suspect and two other people by his last name. It was a modest, well-kept home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Woodstock, a predominantly white parish in Cherokee County of about 33,000 people. On Wednesday the shadows were drawn and an American flag hung on an awning in front of the ranch-style house.
Summer Barber, a 21-year-old dog groomer who lives up the street, said she saw some of the residents ride four-wheelers on the weekends and had a few casual conversations with them, including offering to groom their gold doodle.
Barber said she believed she spoke to the suspect and a woman who might be his mother.
“They seem really nice, normal,” Barber said, adding that the area not far from horse pastures is a nice place to live. “Nothing really happens here, people work, raise families.”