ATLANTA - A veteran law officer is raising concerns about the way Cherokee County authorities have described their investigation into the deadly spa shooting spree in metro Atlanta on Tuesday.
Dr. Cedric Alexander believes it's too early to rule out racial bias as a motive for the crime. He also believes Captain Jay Baker's remark about suspect Robert Long having a "bad day" sends a bad message to the public.
"People are gonna have to make some real decisions and stop trying to minimize what clearly looks like a case of hate," said
Dr. Alexander, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology.
The former public safety director for DeKalb County said he's not comfortable with what he said appears to be a rush to rule out the ethnicity of the victims as a motive for the deadly shooting spree at three Asian massage parlors. Six out of the eight people who were killed in the three shootings were Asian women.
"They're gonna have to make a decision based on the totality of what happened in this case, but you simply cannot take the word of a subject so that he can frame the case for himself. That has to be evidenced by the professionals who do that," said Alexander. "Those victims being Asian American, those victims being women is a factor that cannot be overlooked even when the suspect says he did it because of a sexual addiction. It's going to be far greater than that and that's something local, state and federal investigators will have to look at carefully," said Dr. Alexander.
Dr. Alexander also takes issue with the comments Captain Jay Baker made that drew national criticism when he said murder suspect Robert Long was "fed up and had a bad day" as it relates to Long's sexual addiction claims.
"You give the appearance that you are setting up a defense for someone and that's something you never ever want to do. Long having a bad day is of no consequence when the public sees all of the Asian women were killed," said the former police chief.
Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds issued an apology Thursday saying in part Baker's remarks "were not intended to disrespect any of the victims, the gravity of this tragedy, or express empathy or sympathy to the subject."
"I'm glad that he stepped forward, he made an apology. We learn from it and we move forward, but we cannot negate the fact that eight people were killed and their families are mourning. That is a very targeted population that came up under threat and lost their lives, so you really have to step back. How can you not suspect that this was not racially motivated?" Alexander asked.
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