FBI: Atlanta spa killings among 61 active shooter incidents in U.S. in 2021

Participants at the Georgia Freight Depot wave signs at the beginning of the Asian Justice 1-year anniversary of the spa shootings rally in Atlanta on March 16, 2022.   STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Participants at the Georgia Freight Depot wave signs at the beginning of the Asian Justice 1-year anniversary of the spa shootings rally in Atlanta on March 16, 2022. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

California had the most incidents, at 6. Georgia and Texas both had 5

The killing spree that left eight dead at metro Atlanta spas was among the 61 active shooter incidents across the country in 2021, according to the FBI.

That’s up from 40 active shooter incidents in 2020, the agency said as cities across the U.S. are continuing to deal with a surge in violent crime. The FBI defines an active shooter as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area,” such as shooting in public places. The list doesn’t include all gun-related incidents, the agency said.

The FBI findings were released a day before Tuesday’s shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 students and two teachers.

Of the 61 incidents last year, five were in Georgia, according to the FBI’s findings released this week. Only California had more active shooters with six. Texas and Georgia both had five.

The FBI reports 103 people were killed in the shootings and all but one of the 61 shooters were male and the majority were between the ages of 25 to 34.

The sixth active shooting incident in the U.S. in 2021 was a killing spree that spanned two metro-area counties.

“For 2021, the FBI observed an emerging trending involving roving active shooters; specifically, shooters who shoot in multiple locations either in one day or in various locations over several days,” the agency said in its report.

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210727-Canton- Robert Aaron Long enters Superior Court of Cherokee County in Canton on Tuesday morning, July 27, 2021, for his plea hearing in the spa shootings. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

210727-Canton- Robert Aaron Long enters Superior Court of Cherokee County in Canton on Tuesday morning, July 27, 2021, for his plea hearing in the spa shootings. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

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210727-Canton- Robert Aaron Long enters Superior Court of Cherokee County in Canton on Tuesday morning, July 27, 2021, for his plea hearing in the spa shootings. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

On March 16, 2021, a lone gunman opened fire in three spas in Cherokee and Fulton counties, according to police. A year later, Robert Aaron Long is serving a life sentence for the Cherokee shootings after pleading guilty. He awaits trial in Fulton, where prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty, and he faces sentencing enhancements under Georgia’s hate crime statute.

Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49, Daoyou Feng, 44, Delaina Yaun, 33, and Paul Michels, 54, died in the shooting at Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County. A fifth person, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, was injured. Afterward, investigators said Long drove about 30 miles to Piedmont Road where Yue, 63, Soon Chung Park, 74, Suncha Kim, 69, and Hyun Jung Grant, 51, were gunned down at the Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa.

In June 2021, a 22-year-old allegedly fired multiple shots at a man and is accused of opening fire on a random driver in Roswell, according to police. Authorities said Gaelen Newsom fired at strangers during their morning jog in Buckhead and then ran over a man as he took out the trash, crushing his legs. In January, Newsom was indicted on 30 charges.

A third active shooter incident happened in Georgia about a week later, on June 11, 2021.

Investigators said Justin Tyran Roberts, 39, began a three-act shooting that left five injured. Roberts allegedly started shooting outside a hotel in Phenix City, Alabama. Later that night, Roberts was the alleged gunman in a shooting on Broadway Street in neighboring Columbus.

The following day around 2 p.m. Columbus police responded to a shooting on 3rd Avenue and 4th Street. Roberts, accused of the third shooting, was arrested on June 14, according to a Columbus media report.

On Aug. 1, a fourth active shooter incident took place in northeast Georgia, according to the FBI. Investigators believe the suspect, 31-year-old Antuan Prather of Toccoa, opened fire at two gas stations, wounding two people.

A fifth active shooter incident took place on Aug. 14, when Larry B. Mackie, 33, began shooting at a vehicle in Richmond County and then inside a Family Dollar store in Wrens, according to the GBI. Then in Graniteville, South Carolina, Mackie allegedly fired into a home. One person was killed and three were wounded in the shooting spree, according to investigators.

“The FBI remains dedicated to assisting federal, state, local, tribal and campus law enforcement in its active shooter prevention, response and recovery efforts, as well as to training its international law enforcement partners,” the agency said. “The FBI remains steadfast in its efforts to train private citizens, as it is imperative that citizens understand the risks faced and the resources available in an active shooter.”


U.S. ACTIVE SHOOTER INCIDENTS

2021: 61

2020: 40

2019: 30

2018: 30

2017: 31

Source: FBI