Austin also condemned what he dubbed a horrific crime.
I am saddened by the horrific attacks in Atlanta, Ga., yesterday, where we believe several women of Korean descent were killed, said the first Black Pentagon chief. Our deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by this horrific crime and especially the families of those who were killed. I share my colleagues view that violence of this or any other type has no place in our society.
After dropping off flowers Jesus Estrella, left, and Shelby S., right, stand in support of the Asian and Hispanic community outside Youngs Asian Massage parlor where four people were killed, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Acworth, Ga. A white gunman was charged Wednesday with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in an attack on Tuesday that sent terror through the Asian American community thats increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) | Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
The South Korean ministers of foreign affairs and defense also expressed their regrets about the attack.
Eight people, all but one of them women, were killed at three Atlanta spas on Tuesday in a shooting spree believed to be carried out by Robert Aaron Long, who has been charged with eight counts of murder.
Longs motivations are not yet clear, but the victims backgrounds have raised fears that racial bias may have come into play. Violence against Asian Americans has been high in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Long told investigators the killings were not racially motivated.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also condemned the attack on Wednesday and acknowledged the ethnicity of the victims.
We know [violence against Asian Americans] is an issue that’s happening around the country; it is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop, she said.
Long was arrested Tuesday night about 150 miles south of the city.