In response to recent violence against Asian Americans – this time in Georgia shootings that killed eight people – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Adrian Diaz issued a statement.
“The violence in Atlanta was an act of hatred. We mourn with Atlanta and for the victims and their families, ”they said in an announcement on Tuesday.
“We also stand with our Asian-American community against the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, particularly against Chinese Americans. In Seattle and across our country, our Asian American neighbors, places of worship, and businesses have been deliberately attacked by racism, xenophobia, and acts of violence related to misconceptions about COVID-19. It wasn’t until this weekend, after repeated incidents in our community, that Seattle came together to oppose this hatred against Asian Americans. Governor Locke said so clearly, “Hate is a virus.” And through our actions we must all be the healing. “
Georgia officials say the 21-year-old suspect blamed his “sex addiction” for his actions and may have traveled to Florida to carry out further attacks on the porn industry. They are investigating whether the race was a factor in Tuesday’s shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area, raising fears of another hate crime against Asian Americans.
Police said the suspect’s motive was not immediately known even though he was white and local authorities said they were investigating whether race was a factor.
The attacks began Tuesday evening when five people were shot dead at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta. Two people died on the scene and three others were taken to hospital, where two of them died, police said.
About an hour later, police responded to a robbery call and found three women who had died from apparent gunshot wounds at the Gold Spa. Officers then learned of shots fired at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street and found another woman dead.
In Seattle, Durkan and Diaz said the city is determined to hold people accountable for hate crimes and will increase security to protect “our Asian American neighbors,” including increased contact with Asian American communities and organizations, as well as additional ones Police and community patrols the service officer.
Seattle police said local organizations had provided resources to community members to counter misinformation, racism and discrimination, and the Chinese Information Service Center had created translated leaflets and videos to help people report incidents.
Hundreds of Seattle area residents pledged to protect one another from racial violence and abuse against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic at a rally on Saturday. This appears to be worsening over the past few weeks with a series of high profile attacks, including on the elderly.
Information from the archives of The Associated Press and The Seattle Times are included in this report.