As Asian communities across the country grapple with the rise in anti-Asian violence, eight people — including six Asian women — were fatally shot by a gunman at three spas in the Atlanta area on Tuesday.
In a span of 45 minutes, 21-year-old suspect Robert Aaron Long killed multiple people at Young’s Asian Massage in a suburb north of Atlanta, and at two more businesses — Aromatherapy Spa and Gold Spa — just across the street from each other in the city.
While information about the victims is limited, the names of those killed at Young’s Asian Massage were 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan, 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng, and 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels; a fifth person, 30-year-old Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The Fulton County medical examiner on Friday released the names of the four other victims at the Aromatherapy and Gold spas. They are 74-year-old Soon Park, 69-year-old Suncha Kim, 63-year-old Yong Yue, and 51-year-old Hyun Jung Grant, and are all women of Korean descent, according to Los Angeles Times and the Korea Times Atlanta.
Here’s what we know about them so far.
Xiaojie “Emily” Tan
Tan, 49, was the mother of Jami Webb, a recent graduate from the University of Georgia. She was a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Young’s Asian Massage, along with other businesses in the area, including another spa and a tanning salon, according to state records.
She was “the sweetest, most kind-hearted, giving, never-met-a-stranger person,” a friend told Atlanta’s WSB-TV. Just one day away from her 50th birthday when she was killed, according to USA Today, Tan was described by her daughter as thoughtful, devoted to her family, and looking forward to traveling in her retirement.
“She did everything for me and for the family. She provided everything. She worked every day, 12 hours a day, so that me and our family would have a better life,” Webb said. Tan had been living in the Atlanta area since 2010, and was known for her business acumen and consideration for her customers.
She grew up in Nanning, China, the younger of two sisters. In the early 2000s, Tan met businessman Michael Webb and eventually moved to Florida and married him. While the two were no longer together, Michael spoke of how close they remained.
“Even when we got divorced, she’d say that: ‘We family.’ Because that’s how she was,” he told USA Today.
JUST IN: Picture of Xiaojie “Emily” Tan. She owned Youngs Asian Massage. She was one of four killed in Cherokee County.— Chris Jose (@ChrisJoseWSB) March 18, 2021
Story: Friends say victim of shooting rampage at metro Atlanta spas was mother of recent UGA gradhttps://t.co/EvcoSMYHdk @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/z1xW9YU6W9
Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez
Yaun Gonzalez, 33, was a mother of two — 13-year-old Mayson and 8-month-old Mia. She had worked all day on Tuesday at the Waffle House a few shops down from Tan’s spa business. She had been looking forward to having a relaxing night out with her husband, Mario Gonzalez, whom she married only last year, and the couple had reportedly never been to Young’s Asian Massage before. According to Fox 5 Atlanta, family members say that Mario Gonzalez, who survived the shooting, is “taking [the situation] hard.” Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez’s friends and family have set up a GoFundMe to address her funeral costs.
Delaina Yaun I can't believe your gone... I am going to miss you so much. You were such a great role model. You were an...Posted by Cristy Lynn McGouirk on Tuesday, March 16, 2021
According to The Cut, Feng, 44, was an employee at Young’s Asian Massage.
Paul Andre Michels
Michels, 54, was a handyman at Young’s Asian Massage and the owner of an electric company. He was only recently hired for the role and excited to take it on after looking for more work during the pandemic, according to a friend who spoke with CBS46.
An army veteran originally from Detroit, Michels is one of nine siblings and is survived by his wife of more than two decades. In an interview with the Guardian, his brother John Michels emphasized his kindness. “He was just a regular guy, very good-hearted, very soft-natured,” he said, while noting that Michels had expressed an interest in getting involved in the massage business.
Hyun Jung Grant
Grant, 51, was an employee at Gold Spa and the mother of two sons. An immigrant from Korea who lived in a suburb of Atlanta, Grant told her family that she had previously worked as an elementary school teacher before coming to the US.
Her son, Randy Park, described his mother as a loving parent who enjoyed dancing, Tiesto, and sushi.
“She was a single mother of two kids who dedicated her whole life to raising them,” her son Park told the Daily Beast. “I could tell her anything. If I had girl problems or whatever. She wasn’t just my mother. She was my friend.” Park has put together a GoFundMe page for legal costs and funeral costs.
This is Hyun Jung Grant( maiden name Kim) and her sons. She’s one of the victims of Tuesday’s shootings. She worked at Gold Spa— Alex Whittler (@AlexWhittler) March 19, 2021
and a GoFundMe for her boys indicates the rest of their family is in South Korea. Her sons are now in the US alone. @FOX5Atlanta pic.twitter.com/rmWUvMyxhs
Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was the only survivor of the victims who were shot on Tuesday, and he remains hospitalized for multiple gunshot wounds in his “forehead, throat, lungs and stomach,” according to the Washington Post. He was shot while standing outside in the shopping center where Young’s Asian Massage is located.
An auto repair shop owner who immigrated from Guatemala 10 years ago, Hernandez-Ortiz is married and has a 9-year-old daughter.
“He came from nothing and has come a long way; that is why I have faith he will survive this,” his wife Flor Gonzalez told the Washington Post. Gonzalez has also set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs of Hernandez-Ortiz’s medical care.
UPDATE: The sole survivor in the Cherokee massage parlor shooting is 30yr old Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz. His family tells me they’re praying for him. Names released for victims in deadly Cherokee County spa shooting; Atlanta victims not identified yet https://t.co/pKGvH4Pmlc @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/S49A4ReXzL— Chris Jose (@ChrisJoseWSB) March 17, 2021