Asian American communities on edge after deadly shootings

By Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:55 p.m. ET, March 19, 2021
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3:40 p.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Biden and Harris are meeting with Asian American leaders in Atlanta

From CNN's DJ Judd, Jeff Zeleny and Kate Sullivan

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are meeting with Asian American leaders at Emory University in Atlanta in the wake of deadly shootings that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

Here's who will be attending today's listening session:

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Georgia State Sen. Dr. Michelle Au
  • Georgia State Sen. Sheikh Rahman
  • Georgia State Rep. Marvin Lim
  • Georgia State Rep. Bee Nguyen
  • Georgia State Rep. Sam Park
  • Stephanie Cho, executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-​Atlanta
  • Victoria Huynh, vice president of the Center for Pan Asian Community Services
  • Bianca Jyotishi, Georgia organizing manager of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
  • Cedric Richmond, director of the Office of Public Engagement
  • Sameera Fazili, deputy director of the National Economic Council

Both Biden and Harris will be speaking following the meeting.

11:52 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Biden urges Congress to pass Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Biden just issued a statement urging Congress to “swiftly pass” the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

The legislation, Biden said in the statement, “would expedite the federal government’s response to the rise of hate crimes exacerbated during the pandemic, support state and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting, and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to Asian American communities.”

Biden also noted that during his first week in office, he signed a presidential memorandum to "condemn and combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States."

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be meeting with Asian American leaders in Atlanta today following Tuesday's shooting that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

1:59 p.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions about the Atlanta spa shootings investigation 

As police continue to investigate the shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead, the city's mayor says she believes the incident was a hate crime.

The attack has shaken the Asian American community in the city and around the country. Six of the eight people killed were Asian women. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Atlanta today meeting with Asian American leaders.

CNN correspondent Natasha Chen was in Georgia answering viewers' questions about the investigation.


11:30 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Husband of spa shooting victim: "The most valuable thing" in my life was taken from me

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Mario Gonzalez, the husband of Delaina Yaun, 33, one of the victims of the spa shootings, said he heard the gunshots from inside the spa, according to his interview with Mundo Hispanico.   

 "It was a very sad day," said Gonzalez. The father of two went to Young's Asian Massage with his wife, but was in a separate room when the shooting started, he said to Mundo Hispanico.  

"We were going with the intention of getting a massage but I wasn’t expecting my wife’s life was on its way," said Gonzalez to the newspaper. 

"We were on our way, happy, she had just left work and in one moment this happens," said Gonzalez. 

"About an hour in, almost at the end, I heard the shots. I didn’t see anything, only, I started to think it was in the room where my wife was," Gonzalez told the Spanish-language newspaper. 

Yaun was one of four people killed at the spa near Woodstock, Georgia, CNN has reported. 

"They took the most valuable thing I have in my life, I had because she was taken from me. He left me with only pain, the killer who killed my wife, something needs to be done," said Gonzalez to Mundo Hispanico.  

Robert Aaron Long, the suspect, is being held without bond in Cherokee County on several murder charges. Long is accused of killing a total of 8 people.

11:28 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

More than $550,000 raised for the sons of one of the spa shooting victims

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Paul Murphy

GoFundMe page for the two sons of Atlanta spa shooting victim Hyun Jung Grant has raised $550,000 as of Friday morning.

The GoFundMe page, which the company tells CNN they verified, was purportedly set up by Grant’s son Randy Park. 

CNN has reached out to Park, who did not immediately respond.

According to the page, about 14,000 people have donated.

On the page, Park writes the murder of his mother “is something that should never happen to anyone.”  Grant, 51, died of a gunshot wound to the head Tuesday, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“She was a single mother who dedicated her whole life to providing for my brother and I. It is only my brother and I in the United States,” Park wrote adding the rest of their family remains in South Korea.

Park said his mother was “one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today.“

“Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world,” he wrote.

Park said he and his brother have been advised to move out of their house to save money and “due to some legal complications,” he and his brother have been unable to obtain her body so they can have a funeral. Park said he and his brother hope to stay in their home.

8:55 p.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Fulton County Medical Examiner identifies 4 shooting victims

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Devon Sayers

The Fulton County Medical Examiner today released the names of the four women killed in Atlanta during a string of shootings at massage parlors. 

They are:

  • Soon Chung Park, a 74-year-old Asian woman, who died of a gunshot wound to the head
  • Hyun Jung Grant, a 51-year-old Asian woman, who died of a gunshot wound to the head
  • Suncha Kim, a 69-year-old Asian woman, who died of a gunshot wound to the chest
  • Yong Ae Yue, 63-year-old Asian woman, who died of a gunshot wound to the head

Earlier this week, officials in Cherokee County identified the four people killed there: Delaina Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Tan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44. One man, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, survived. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated which agency released the victims' identities. It was the Fulton County Medical Examiner. This post also failed to list the full names of three of the victims. It has been updated to include full and correct names for Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant and Soon Chung Park.

8:49 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Rep. Grace Meng: GOP congressman's comments during hearing on discrimination were "completely insensitive"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Democratic Rep. Grace Meng said Republican Rep. Chip Roy was “completely insensitive” during a House hearing on discrimination against Asian Americans.

Meng yesterday fired back at comments about China made by Roy, saying he was “putting a bull's-eye on the back of Asian Americans across this country.”

During the hearing, in arguing that Americans "deserve justice" for victims, Roy also made a reference to lynching, saying, "there's an old saying in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously and we ought to do that, round up the bad guys."

“First of all, it was such a source of comfort to have that acknowledgement that this is a real pain and situation going on in our country. We wanted to have a very honest hearing and to work together to find solutions,” Meng said on CNN’s “New Day.”  

“We talked about legislation. We heard from community members on what resources and support they need. … And that's part of why I was so upset that Mr. Roy just was completely insensitive about the focus and the point of the hearing,” she said. 

Meng said she’s been hearing from constituents who are scared to let their kids go outside due the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. She said former President Trump “empowered this sort of racist behavior” for the past year during the pandemic. 

“Just in the last two weeks, a mom and her baby were taking a walk in the park in the middle of the day. Someone came up to her, spat in her direction three times, calling her the Chinese virus and to go back. Two days ago, a 13-year-old boy was just playing basketball at a local park and a group of people threw basketballs at his head telling him he was a Chinese virus and he should go home,” she said. 


8:47 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Atlanta mayor says on spa shootings: "I think it's difficult to see it as anything other than a hate crime"

From CNN's Gisela Crespo 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN last night she thinks that Tuesday's spa shootings were a hate crime. 

"It looked like a hate crime to me," Bottoms said during an interview on Anderson Cooper 360. "This was targeted at Asian spas. Six of the women who were killed were Asian so it's difficult to see it as anything but that."

Bottoms added, "There are many areas of hate that are covered within the definition of a hate crime," later adding, "I think it's difficult to see it as anything other than a hate crime." 

The mayor said she's spent the past days reaching out to members of the Asian community in Atlanta "to make sure we have all of the information we need to make sure that our communities are protected," adding the dialogue will continue. 

The 21-year-old suspect, Robert Aaron Long, is in custody in relation to the shootings in Cherokee County, Georgia and the two others in Atlanta. In total, eight people — including six Asian women — died in the three shootings.

Long claimed responsibility for the shooting in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder and a charge of aggravated assault, according to the county sheriff's office. He also has been charged with more four counts of murder, Atlanta Police Department said.


8:13 a.m. ET, March 19, 2021

Biden and Harris will meet with Asian American leaders in Georgia today

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President Biden and Vice President Harris are heading to Georgia today

The trip that had previously been planned to promote their Covid-19 relief package. But the White House's plan to promote the package took a somber turn after a rampage here this week killed eight people — including six women of Asian descent.

White House officials ended up canceling a planned evening rally intended to help explain the benefits of the law.

The President and vice president are instead set to meet with Asian American leaders. Still, the White House has stopped short of calling the shootings a hate crime, despite calls to do so.