Watch “AFRAID: Fear in Communities of Color” at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, March 22 — a CNN Special Report hosted by Amara Walker, Ana Cabrera, Victor Blackwell and Anderson Cooper.
“The people, the women who perished, I see my family in them,” he told CNN at Saturday’s rally, which scores of people attended at Liberty Plaza next to the Georgia Capitol in downtown Atlanta.
Eight people were fatally shot Tuesday — four at a spa in Georgia’s Cherokee County, and four more about an hour later at two spas some 30 miles away in Atlanta.
Outside one of the Atlanta spas, Xinrui Li walked up to leave flowers on Saturday. The Atlanta resident of Asian descent told CNN that she, too, was shaken by Tuesday’s shootings.
“Right now I really feel very insecure, because even before this, when I was on the street sometimes people will ask me questions like, ‘Why are you here?'” she said.” Nowadays after these things happen, I really feel scared.”
Similar sentiments were expressed Friday in New York City, where people gathered at Foley Square for a candlelight vigil for the victims.
President condemns rising anti-Asian hate crimes
The level of planning seen in the shootings would show the suspect was motivated by more than just a “bad day,” retired FBI supervisory special agent Jim Clemente told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday.
“His actions show that he targeted a particular type of person on this particular day, and not only did he do it at one location, but he went to a second and a third location,” Clemente said.
While in Atlanta, Biden and Harris did not explicitly state that they considered the shootings a hate crime. But they noted that whatever the shooter’s motivation, the killings come as hate crimes are rising against Asian Americans.
“The conversation we had today with the (Asian American and Pacific Islander) leaders, and that we’re hearing all across the country, is that hate and violence often hide in plain sight. It’s often met with silence,” Biden said. “That’s been true throughout our history, but that has to change because our silence is complicity.”
Suspect held on murder charges
But Atlanta police have said it is still too early to know the suspect’s motive. And Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said the investigation is ongoing and appropriate charges will be brought.
Long is being held without opportunity for bail in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder with malice, one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and five counts of using a firearm while committing a felony.
He has been charged with four counts of murder in connection with the two spa shootings in Atlanta, according to Atlanta police.
Victims leave behind families: ‘She was one of my best friends’
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were fatally shot at the site of Tuesday’s first shooting, Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County.
Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, of Acworth, was also shot at Youngs Asian Massage but survived.
About 30 miles away and within an hour of the first shooting, four Asian women were killed in Atlanta — three at the Gold Massage Spa, and one at the Aroma Therapy Spa across the street, authorities said.
The four Atlanta victims were: Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, 63, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.
One of the four victims in Atlanta was a South Korean citizen and permanent resident of the US, according to Kwangsuk Lee, South Korea’s deputy consulate general in Atlanta. The other three are believed to be Americans of Korean ethnicity, Lee told CNN on Friday.
Of the four Atlanta victims, three died of gunshot wounds to the head, and one died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the Fulton County medical examiner’s office said.
“She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today,” Park wrote.
The GoFundMe page, set up for Grant’s two sons, had raised more than $2.2 million from more than 57,000 donors as of Saturday morning. GoFundMe told CNN the page is verified; Park did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The page says the donated money will pay for food, rent and other monthly bills. It says the brothers now only have each other in the US, with every other relative in South Korea.
“Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world,” Park wrote.
“About an hour in … I heard the shots. I didn’t see anything, only I started to think it was in the room where my wife was,” he told the newspaper.
“(The shooter) took the most valuable thing I had in my life,” Gonzalez said. “He left me with only pain.”
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Natasha Chen, Gregory Lemos, Jamiel Lynch, Paul P. Murphy, Yoonjung Seo, Amanda Watts and Holly Yan contributed to this report.