Biden commemorates anniversary of deadly Atlanta spa shooting

President Biden commemorated the two-year anniversary of the shooting at a spa in the Atlanta area that killed eight people, six of them Asian women.

In an official White House statement released Thursday, Biden paid tribute to the victims and loved ones affected by the 2021 shootings at two Asian spas.

“To the families of the victims, while the grief never really ends, we hope you find meaning in what will never be lost: the love you had for her and the love they had for you all ‘ Biden said. “Across the country, people of all backgrounds have gathered to remember the lives lost, honor the extraordinary resilience of this community, and show solidarity with our fellow Americans.”

Biden’s statement comes as Asian Americans and others across the country held vigils and rallies to honor victims and called for action against gun violence and anti-Asian racism.

Two years ago, Robert Aaron Long, now 23, admittedly shot and killed five people at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County, four of whom died. He allegedly continued the rampage 30 miles away in Fulton County, where he shot four women at the Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa. For a long time pleaded guilty the charges in Cherokee County, where he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. But he pleaded not guilty to the charges in Fulton, where District Attorney Fani Willis is currently seeking the death penalty.

A person mourns at a memorial at Gold Spa in Atlanta (File by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

In his statement, Biden expressed his commitment to ending gun violence.

“I want you to know that I see you. My administration sees you. And we are determined to end the scourge of gun violence, anti-Asian hatred, and all forms of racism and extremism in this nation,” Biden said in the statement. “We remain firmly convinced that comfort comes from strength, fear from hope and darkness from light.”

Biden joined several officials, including members of the Congressional Asia-Pacific American Caucus, to comment on the anniversary of the tragedy. Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the caucus, reminded Americans that the shooting was part of a larger wave of anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.

“This tragedy shocked our country as it faced the reality of the rising anti-Asian hatred that Asian-American communities have faced over the past three years,” Chu, D-Calif., said in a statement. “I remain in solidarity with our communities in Atlanta and across the country as we continue to fight anti-Asian hatred and xenophobia in all its forms.”

The Asian community has since grappled with several other mass shootings, including an incident in Monterey Park, California that killed 11 people in a dance hall. A second unrelated shooting followed days later in Half Moon Bay, killing seven and wounding another victim. On Tuesday, Biden took a trip to Monterey Park to join the community.

“We all saw a day and celebration and light turned into a day of fear and darkness,” said Biden, reading the names of mass shooting victims.

During the trip, he also announced an executive order aimed at increasing the number of background checks before firearms are sold “to bring the US as close as possible to universal background checks without additional legislation.”

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