Sheriff's Spokesperson Who Said Spa Shooting Suspect Had a 'Bad Day' Is Removed from Case
The spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office was also under fire for controversial Facebook posts from 2020
A Georgia sheriff's captain will no longer serve as the spokesman for the spa shooting case that left eight people dead at Atlanta-area spas.
Captain Jay Baker faced widespread scrutiny when he told reporters about Robert Aaron Long's state of mind when he allegedly shot eight people dead, including six Asian women.
"He was pretty much fed up and had been kind of at the end of his rope," Baker said on Wednesday. "Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did."
The comments were widely criticized on social media, with critics alleging that Baker had callously minimized the murders. Hours after Baker's comments, the hashtag #ReallyBadDay began trending on Twitter, with more than 40,000 tweets.
Things got even worse for Baker after media outlets unearthed controversial comments that he made on Facebook last year. On March 30 and April 2 of 2020, Baker promoted sales of a T-shirt that referred to COVID-19 as an "imported virus from Chy-na."
"Place your order while they last," Captain Baker captioned one of the posts. The posts were on a personal Facebook account presumably maintained by Baker.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
After the story of the controversial Facebook posts was broken by Buzzfeed, the public Facebook posts were made private.
Now, Baker will no longer work on the case, authorities tell WSB-TV.
On Thursday, the sheriff's department issued a statement saying that they believe Baker didn't intend to show disrespect for the victims -- but they told the station that Baker will no longer be the spokesperson for the case and that his supervisors are considering what his future looks like with the department.
Long faces eight counts of murder in Tuesday's shootings. He has not yet entered a plea. The killings have not been classified as hate crimes.