Loving Parents, an Army Veteran and More: Victims of the Atlanta Spa Shootings — 'They Did Nothing Wrong'
Though authorities said there's no evidence suggesting the suspect was motivated by race, six of the victims were Asian women
Amid a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country, eight people were killed this week in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Though authorities said there's no evidence suggesting the suspect was motivated by race, six of the victims were Asian women.
On March 16, three women were found dead from apparent gunshot wounds inside Gold Spa massage parlor, Sgt. John Chafee of Atlanta Police Department's Public Affairs Unit previously told PEOPLE in a statement.
While police were at the scene, they received reports that shots were being fired at another massage parlor across the street. Upon arrival, they found another woman shot and killed inside.
Meanwhile, prior to the other attacks, at another spa nearby, two victims were shot and pronounced dead at the scene. Three others were transported to the hospital for their injuries and two of them died.
Here's everything we know about the victims of the Atlanta-area shootings.
Hyun Jung Grant
Hyun Jung Grant was one of three people killed at the Gold Spa massage parlor on Tuesday.
Grant, 51, was a single mother who lived with her two sons, 23-year-old Randy Park and his younger brother. The rest of their family lives in South Korea.
Before coming to the United States, she worked as an elementary school teacher, according to TIME.
In an interview with ABC News, Park said that his mother was "quite literally the only thing keeping us running," and that she would work "long" nights in order to provide for her family.
"This is something that should never happen to anyone," Park wrote in a GoFundMe page set up to cover funeral costs and help provide for basic living necessities for himself and his brother. So far, Park has raised over $2 million.
"[She] dedicated her whole life to providing for my brother and I," he continued. "She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today. Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world."
Delaina Ashley Yaun
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, was one of four victims killed at Young's Asian Massage outside Acworth, Georgia.
Yaun, 33, was a mother of two who was killed while visiting the spa for the first time with her husband, whom she married in August, according to WXIA.
In addition to working at a local Waffle House as a server, she was a devoted mother to her 13-year-old son and daughter, 8 months, according to TIME.
The pair were in separate rooms at the time of the shooting. Her husband survived unharmed, WAGA-TV reported. "He's taking it hard," Yaun's sister, Dana Toole, told the outlet. "When you're in a room and gunshots are flying, what do you do?"
"They're innocent. They did nothing wrong," added Yaun's mother, Margaret Rushing. "I just don't understand why he took my daughter."
A GoFundMe page created to cover funeral expenses has raised almost $70,000 as of Saturday.
Paul Andre Michels
Paul Andre Michels, 54, was fatally shot at Young's Asian Massage parlor.
An Army veteran, Michels moved to the Atlanta area in 1995 alongside one of his eight siblings, brother John, according to the Associated Press. There, Paul met his wife of over 20 years.
"He was a good, hard-working man who would do what he could do to help people," his brother told the outlet. "He'd loan you money if you needed it sometimes. You never went away from his place hungry."
"From what I understand, he was at the spa that day doing some work for them," John added of his brother, who worked installing security systems. "He was actually looking to start his own massage spa. That's what he was talking about last year."
Xiaojie Tan, who owned Young's Asian Massage, was killed the day before her 50th birthday.
"She did everything for me and for the family. She provided everything. She worked every day, 12 hours a day, so that me and our family would have a better life," Jami Webb, 29, told USA Today of her mother.
Tan first met former husband Michael Webb in China, where she was born, according to the outlet. Two years after tying the knot in 2004, the pair moved to the United States.
Within the span of 15 years, Tan went from working as a nail technician to owning two businesses, the first of which she opened shortly after moving to Georgia in 2010.
"She worked so hard. And she was very successful at that," Michael Webb told the outlet.
Soon Chung Park, 74, Yong Ae Yue, 63, and Suncha Kim, 69, have also been identified as victims of the shootings.
Park, who helped manage one of the spas, moved to Atlanta in recent years to be closer to her friends, her son-in-law Scott Lee told the newspaper.
In a statement released to WSB-TV Atlanta, Yue's sons wrote that they "are devastated by the loss of our beloved mother, and words cannot adequately describe our grief."
"To all those who have reached out to provide support and words of encouragement, thank you," their statement said. "At this time, since the case has garnered so much attention, we are asking that the media and the public to please respect our family's privacy while we grieve and while we make arrangements for our mother's funeral."
According to The Washington Post, Kim and Yue were also among the workers who were killed during the shootings.
The lone survivor of the shootings has been identified as Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, who was injured at Young's Asian Massage.
Hernandez-Ortiz, a 30-year-old mechanic, was "shot in the forehead down to his lungs and into his stomach," his wife Flora Gonzalez Gomez wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to cover medical expenses.
According to his wife, Hernandez-Ortiz is in intensive care and will require facial surgery. So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $190,000.
"He called me and told me, 'I got shot, I got shot, please come,'" she said in an interview with CNN en Español on Thursday. "That was the only thing he told me. It was terrifying listening to that."
"He is a really good dad," his 9-year-old daughter Yoseline Gonzalez told CNN affiliate WGCL. "I don't want him to go."
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A recent report released by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that there have been at least 3,795 hate incidents targeting the AAPI community from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. More than 500 of those incidents have occurred within the past three months.
Stop AAPI Hate, a national group that addresses anti-Asian hate in the U.S., reacted to the shootings, calling them an "unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the AAPI community — which has been reeling from high levels of racial discrimination."
"Few details have been released, including whether or not the shootings were related or motivated by hate," the organization added on Twitter. "But right now there is a great deal of fear and pain in the Asian American community that must be addressed."
Investigators arrested Robert Aaron Long, 21, in connection with the murders. 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.
If you've been attacked or have witnessed an attack, please contact your local authorities. You can also report your incident here. / To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.
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