The man accused of killing eight people, including six Asian-American women, in shootings at three massage parlours in Atlanta, Ga. last week is facing charges of malice murder and aggravated assault, the local sheriff announced on Monday.
The Cherokee County sheriff’s office said Robert Aaron Long, 21, is now facing ‘malice murder’ and aggravated assault charges.
Malice murder is an offence in the state of Georgia, alleging implied or express malice.
However, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a written statement that despite interest “across the country and around the world” in the case, his department would not comment further on the investigation.
“Our main focus is investigating this heinous crime and ensuring all facts and evidence are gathered to present to the District Attorney of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit for prosecution,” Reynolds said.
Long was taken into custody following a chase by police hours after the shooting rampage last Tuesday and charged with eight counts of murder.
Police have said they are still trying to determine a motive behind the shooting, which has heightened fears among Asian Americans already rattled by a rise in hate crimes directed at them.
Canadian MPs vote to condemn Atlanta mass shooting, anti-Asian racism
Investigators say Long suggested that he acted out of sexual frustration. FBI Director Christopher Wray told NPR in an interview last week that race did not appear to be a factor.
The Cherokee County office said Long faces ‘malice murder’ and aggravated assault charges. Malice murder is an offence in the state of Georgia, alleging implied or express malice.
-With files from Global News