President Biden on Wednesday said he makes “no connection” between the motivations of the Georgia shooting suspect accused of killing six Asian women and the rise in attacks on Asian Americans.
“The question of motivation is still to be determined,” Mr. Biden said. “But whatever the motivation, I know that Asian Americans are very concerned because, as you know, I’ve been speaking out against the brutality against Asian Americans for the last couple of months.”
“I make no connection at this moment to the motivation of the killer,” the president continued. “I am waiting for an answer from the FBI and the Justice Department. I’ll have more to say when the investigation is completed.”
Mr. Biden’s remarks come as police investigate the Tuesday night shootings around Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women.
The shootings took place at massage parlors.
Authorities say shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long may have frequented the parlors he targeted. They stressed that his motivation is not known, but they said they suspect he is a sex addict who acted out to purge himself of his impulses.
Mr. Long, 21, was on his way to Florida when he was arrested Tuesday night. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said he was possibly planning “to carry out additional shootings.”
Attacks on Asian Americans rose 150 percent, according to a study released earlier this month by the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
The study found a surge in large cities such as New York, where hate crimes against Asians rose from three in 2019 to 28 in 2020, an 833 percent increase. In Los Angeles, hate crimes rose from seven to 15.
It is not clear if authorities will label the Georgia shootings a hate crime.