ATLANTA (AP) — Seven of the eight people killed were women.
Six of them were of Asian descent.
The suspect, according to police, appeared to blame his actions on a "sex addiction."
Atlanta police say “nothing is off the table," including whether the killings were a hate crime, The Associated Press reported.
On Thursday, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds released a statement acknowledging that the comment Capt. Jay Baker's made during a press conference stirred "much debate and anger," and the department regrets any "heartache" Baker's words may have caused, The Associated Press reported.
Baker drew criticism for saying that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, had "a really bad day" on Tuesday.
According to The AP, the sheriff's office has not addressed a Facebook post allegedly posted in 2020 by Baker that promoted a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus.
While the U.S. has seen mass killings in recent years where police said gunmen had racist or misogynist motivations, advocates and scholars say the shootings this week at three Atlanta-area massage parlors targeted a group of people marginalized in more ways than one.
It's a crime that stitches together stigmas about race, gender, migrant work, and sex work.
The killings in Atlanta come after recent reports of Asian Americans being attacked since coronavirus first entered the United States, The AP reported.
According to the AP, the majority of reports come from women.
Long has been charged with eight counts of murder.