Atlanta shooting of Asian women was racially motivated, US senator says

US Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth on Sunday expressed doubts about FBI Director Chris Wray’s preliminary evaluation that the deadly shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta-area spas might not represent a hate crime, saying it “seems to be racially motivated.”

“From the place I sit, I need to see a deeper investigation into whether or not or not these shootings and different related crimes are racially motivated,” Duckworth, who’s one of solely two Asian-Individuals at present serving within the US Senate, informed CBS “Face the Nation.”

“It seems to be racially motivated to me,” she stated, including the caveat that she isn’t a police officer or personally investigating the crimes.

Police in Atlanta are nonetheless investigating the motive in reference to the deadly shooting of eight folks, six of whom have been Asian women, on Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is aiding with the investigation.

In an interview with NPR final week, Wray stated that it “doesn’t seem” that race factored into the mass shooting.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, talking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” additionally questioned that evaluation, suggesting he believes race performed a job.

“Everyone knows hate once we see it,” he stated. “It’s tragic that we’ve been visited by this type of violence but once more.”

The shootings have stoked fears amongst these within the Asian-American Pacific Islander neighborhood, which has reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020 when then-President Donald Trump started referring to COVID-19 because the “China virus.”

Suspected gunman Robert Aaron Lengthy, a 21-year-old Atlanta-area resident who’s white, informed police that sexual frustration led him to commit the violence.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Workplace Captain Jay Baker, who informed the media in a press convention {that a} sexual habit might have fueled the crime and stated Lengthy had had “a extremely dangerous day,” has since come underneath criticism from political leaders and civil rights advocates for making insensitive feedback.

They famous such remarks solely gas stigmas about race, gender and intercourse work.

The sheriff’s workplace later acknowledged the remarks had sparked anger, however stated Baker by no means meant to offend anybody.

Baker is now not serving as a spokesman for the case. The incidence of hate crimes towards Asian-Individuals rose by 149% in 2020 in 16 main cities in contrast with 2019, in response to the Heart for the Research of Hate and Extremism.

Duckworth is amongst a rising quantity of Asian-American lawmakers who’ve urged legislation enforcement to extra fastidiously study the escalating violence.

“It seems to be to me that he knew he was going to locations the place disproportionately the folks he shot up can be Asians, and feminine, and I feel the investigators want to actually take a look at these information,” Consultant Ted Lieu, a member of the Home Judiciary Committee, informed CNN final week, referring to Lengthy.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Atlanta on Friday to supply help to Asian-Individuals and meet with leaders of the neighborhood.

Biden on Sunday additionally highlighted the necessity to stop gender-based violence and hold women secure.

“Up to now few weeks, we’ve seen too many examples of horrific and brutal assaults on women, together with the tragic murders in Georgia…It hurts all of us, and all of us should do extra to create societies the place women are capable of go about their lives free from violence,” he stated in an announcement.

The Justice Division has beforehand stated it’s going to step up investigations into hate crimes towards Asian-Individuals and Pacific Islanders.

Duckworth stated on Sunday she has written a letter to Wray and Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland asking them to take a deeper take a look at whether or not hate crimes are going under-reported.

A Justice Division spokesman confirmed receiving the letter and stated it was underneath overview.

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