MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — The suspect in a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead, was on his way to Florida “perhaps to carry out additional shootings,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday, citing investigators’ findings.
“This could have been significantly worse,” Mayor Bottoms said in a news conference at Atlanta police headquarters. “It’s very likely there would have been more victims,”READ MORE: Grandmother Hopes For Justice One Year After Murder Of Chassidy Saunders
While police have said six of the victims were Asian, “indicators right now are that it may not be” a hate crime, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said.
The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, told investigators that he had issues, potentially sexual addiction, “and may have frequented some of these (spas) in the past,” Reynolds said.
Long has “what he considers a sex addition,” and claimed to see the spas as “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker said.
Still, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said it was too early to know a motive. “There’s still a lot more work to be done. We’re just not there as of yet.”READ MORE: No Major Accidents After 'Wheels Up, Guns Down' Bicyclists Hit Miami Highways
Bottoms, acknowledging most of the victims were Asian, said “we know (violence against Asian Americans) is an issue happening around the country; it’s unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop.”
The spas were “legally operating businesses” which were not on the authorities’ radar, mayor said.
Around 8:30 p.m., the highway patrol about 150 miles south of the city was alerted that a suspect in the Cherokee County shooting was heading its way, Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a video on the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.
After the suspect’s vehicle was spotted, a chase ensued on Interstate 75 and a state trooper performed a maneuver that sent the SUV out of control.
“The suspect was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Crisp County jail,” the official said.MORE NEWS: Butler Gets Triple-Double, Heat Hold Off Raptors 104-99
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