Feds have no evidence yet that Atlanta spa shootings were hate crimes: report

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The Atlanta spa shootings may not meet the standard for federal hate crime charges, authorities told The Associated Press reported Saturday.

Seven of the eight victims in Tuesday’s attacks on three massage parlors in the Atlanta area were women. Six of those women were Asian. Their deaths have called new attention to the rising number of crimes against Asian people in the past year, and on the treatment of women involved in sex work.

Investigators have not yet ruled out hate crime charges, the AP said, but there are legal requirements to be met. Prosecutors must prove the victims were targeted because of factors like race or gender to meet the standard, according to federal law.

Successful prosecutions usually involve text messages, internet posts or witnesses who can back up claims about the accused’s views.

So far, that sort of evidence hasn’t turned up against the accused shooter, Robert Aaron Long, 21, who apparently patronized at least two of the spas he targeted.

Long admitted to the slayings, said officials who insisted he was motivated not by racial hate, but by a sex addiction, and was trying to “eliminate” the “temptation” the spas made him feel.

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