Queens vigil mourns victims of Atlanta spa shootings, Asian hate crimes

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- A community in New York City mourned Thursday night, after the mass shootings in Georgia on Tuesday that left eight dead -- six of them of Asian descent.

It is an open wound so raw, the paralyzing agony plunged deep into it -- is numbing.

The mass shootings in Georgia were felt in Flushing, Queens, where they mourned in the unrelenting rain, to share their unrelenting pain Thursday night.
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Robert Aaron Long, 21, told police that the attack was not racially motivated and claimed to have a "sex addiction." Six of the victims were identified as Asian and seven were wome



"I don't know what's going to kill me first. COVID or racism," former Queens Borough President Sharon Lee said.

Call it a hate crime -- don't call it a hate crime. What is now undisputed is that Asian Americans are under attack, and that fear is turning into anger.

"I am not a virus! I am not your target! We too are American! We too are human beings!" Lee said.

"There's no hate crime there? You gotta be kidding! And then for the sheriff's department's office to say the killer had a bad day? The killer had a bad day? Those eight people had bad days! This is outrageous!" New York Senator John Liu said.

As a result of the rage, the sheriff's Captain Jay Baker will no longer be the spokesperson in this case.
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Cherokee County sheriff's Capt. Jay Baker came under criticism for saying that the 21-year-old man accused of carrying out the Atlanta spa massacres had had a "bad day."



In a statement the sheriff apologizing, saying that these words "were not intended to disrespect and of the victims of the gravity of this tragedy."

But now an old Facebook post of his is causing even more concern. It reads "COVID-19, imported from China."

On Thursday, it was learned that the suspect bought the gun on the day of the attack, before targeting three different spas and murdering eight, six of them who were women of Asian descent.

"Our community is bleeding. We are in pain, and for the last year, we've been screaming for our help," Congresswoman Grace Meng said.

Meanwhile the house held its first hearing today on anti-Asian discrimination.

"We will send a message for generations to come as to whether or not we matter," actor Daniel Dae Kim said. "Whether the country we call home erases us or include us, dismiss us, or respect us, invisiblize us or see us. We are united and we are waking up."

RELATED | Rev. Sharpton, mayoral candidates and advocates denounce attacks against Asian Americans
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National Action Network founder and president the Reverend Al Sharpton was joined by Asian American leaders, New York City mayoral candidates, and advocates at the House of Justice



Back in Queens, they made the same promise. They vowed to fight.

"What they experienced was a form of terrorism. What they experienced was an attack and it's created immense fear," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"If you try to fight one of them you gotta fight one of me. Because we're together," Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said.



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