Biden and Harris Condemn Violence Against Asian-Americans

Here’s what you need to know: President Joe Biden makes remarks following a meeting with Georgia Asian American leaders today.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden on Friday expressed grief for the victims of a mass shooting spree that left eight people, including six women of Asian descent, dead earlier in the week, saying the tragedy was part of a “skyrocketing spike” in violence against Asian-Americans. The gruesome, hate-filled shootings in Atlanta thrust Mr. Biden into the middle of a national struggle to confront the spasm of racially motivated violence from people angry about the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than a half-million people and shut the country down. “They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed,” Mr. Biden lamented after meeting with Asian-American leaders in Atlanta. “It’s been a year of living in fear for their lives.” The moment is a delicate one for Mr. Biden — a new president with just weeks of practice commanding the country’s most important bully pulpit. In coming to Atlanta on Friday, he sought to channel the outrage of a nation while at the same time serving the always grim role of “consoler-in-chief” for yet another grieving community suffering through the horrific aftermath of a mass shooting. Speaking with passion, Mr. Biden lamented the families of the Atlanta victims, who he said were left with “broken hearts and unanswered questions.” And he said Americans should take responsibility for failing to express enough outrage about the targeting of people of Asian descent during the pandemic. “Because our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit,” he said. “We have to speak out. We have to act.” Unlike any previous president, Mr. Biden on Friday had by his side an Asian-American vice president who served — just through her very presence — as a powerful rejection of the kind of racism and hate that has become more frequent during the past year. His choice of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is part Indian-American, made her the first Asian-American to hold the post. “Racism is real in America and it has alway been,” Ms. Harris said, speaking briefly ahead of Mr. Biden and putting the violence in Atlanta in the broader context of a rising spate of attacks on Asian-Americans over the last year. “Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too.” At the end of the address, Mr. Biden spoke to the families of the spa shooting victims directly, saying, “The day will come when their memory brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye, as believable as that is now.” “It will take a while, but I promise you it will come,” he said, “and when it does, that’s the day you know you’re going to make it.” A group from Duluth, Ga., opposed to hate crimes against Asian-Americans gathered outside Gold Spa in Atlanta on Friday.Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times Outside the Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta, where three women were killed on Tuesday, a heap of memorial flowers was growing by the hour as people came to pray or stand on the sidewalk in solidarity. Students from Emory University held cardboard signs decrying racism. A dozen middle-aged business owners came Friday for a brief vigil. And then there was Chenmua Yang, 27, who could not shake the sight of the thick, rust-red spatters covering the spa’s window blinds as he stood outside the crime scene. He thought about how his mother was now too afraid to go grocery shopping alone, because of growing vitriol against Asian-Americans, and about the scary moment a few months ago when a white man purposely knocked into Mr. Yang and told him to go back to his country. “To look at this, it’s hard to put into words,” said Mr. Yang, a graduate student who moved from Wisconsin to Atlanta six months earlier. “It speaks to how far we have to go.” The demonstrators said their horror and grief at the killings of eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses this week had created a new urge to speak out about bigotry that they and other Asian-Americans had endured. To a person, they believed anti-Asian racism had been a driving force behind the killings and were frustrated at hearing law-enforcement officials suggest otherwise. “We are angrier than before,” said Michelle Kang, who stood with the Atlanta Korean-American Committee Against Asian Hate Crime. “The murderer knew where to go, who to shoot.” After the initial jolt of horror and outrage at the killings, some of the people standing vigil by the spas said they had begun to worry about something else: that they could be next. Baik Kyu Kim, who runs two supermarket in the Atlanta area, said he had urged the police to step up patrols by his business. “We don’t know when, where this will happen again,” he said. Crabapple First Baptist Church, in Milton, Ga., where Robert Aaron Long was a member.Credit...Nicole Craine for The N

Biden and Harris Condemn Violence Against Asian-Americans
Here’s what you need to know: President Joe Biden makes remarks following a meeting with Georgia Asian American leaders today.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden on Friday expressed grief for the victims of a mass shooting spree that left eight people, including six women of Asian descent, dead earlier in the week, saying the tragedy was part of a “skyrocketing spike” in violence against Asian-Americans. The gruesome, hate-filled shootings in Atlanta thrust Mr. Biden into the middle of a national struggle to confront the spasm of racially motivated violence from people angry about the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than a half-million people and shut the country down. “They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed,” Mr. Biden lamented after meeting with Asian-American leaders in Atlanta. “It’s been a year of living in fear for their lives.” The moment is a delicate one for Mr. Biden — a new president with just weeks of practice commanding the country’s most important bully pulpit. In coming to Atlanta on Friday, he sought to channel the outrage of a nation while at the same time serving the always grim role of “consoler-in-chief” for yet another grieving community suffering through the horrific aftermath of a mass shooting. Speaking with passion, Mr. Biden lamented the families of the Atlanta victims, who he said were left with “broken hearts and unanswered questions.” And he said Americans should take responsibility for failing to express enough outrage about the targeting of people of Asian descent during the pandemic. “Because our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit,” he said. “We have to speak out. We have to act.” Unlike any previous president, Mr. Biden on Friday had by his side an Asian-American vice president who served — just through her very presence — as a powerful rejection of the kind of racism and hate that has become more frequent during the past year. His choice of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is part Indian-American, made her the first Asian-American to hold the post. “Racism is real in America and it has alway been,” Ms. Harris said, speaking briefly ahead of Mr. Biden and putting the violence in Atlanta in the broader context of a rising spate of attacks on Asian-Americans over the last year. “Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too.” At the end of the address, Mr. Biden spoke to the families of the spa shooting victims directly, saying, “The day will come when their memory brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye, as believable as that is now.” “It will take a while, but I promise you it will come,” he said, “and when it does, that’s the day you know you’re going to make it.” A group from Duluth, Ga., opposed to hate crimes against Asian-Americans gathered outside Gold Spa in Atlanta on Friday.Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times Outside the Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta, where three women were killed on Tuesday, a heap of memorial flowers was growing by the hour as people came to pray or stand on the sidewalk in solidarity. Students from Emory University held cardboard signs decrying racism. A dozen middle-aged business owners came Friday for a brief vigil. And then there was Chenmua Yang, 27, who could not shake the sight of the thick, rust-red spatters covering the spa’s window blinds as he stood outside the crime scene. He thought about how his mother was now too afraid to go grocery shopping alone, because of growing vitriol against Asian-Americans, and about the scary moment a few months ago when a white man purposely knocked into Mr. Yang and told him to go back to his country. “To look at this, it’s hard to put into words,” said Mr. Yang, a graduate student who moved from Wisconsin to Atlanta six months earlier. “It speaks to how far we have to go.” The demonstrators said their horror and grief at the killings of eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses this week had created a new urge to speak out about bigotry that they and other Asian-Americans had endured. To a person, they believed anti-Asian racism had been a driving force behind the killings and were frustrated at hearing law-enforcement officials suggest otherwise. “We are angrier than before,” said Michelle Kang, who stood with the Atlanta Korean-American Committee Against Asian Hate Crime. “The murderer knew where to go, who to shoot.” After the initial jolt of horror and outrage at the killings, some of the people standing vigil by the spas said they had begun to worry about something else: that they could be next. Baik Kyu Kim, who runs two supermarket in the Atlanta area, said he had urged the police to step up patrols by his business. “We don’t know when, where this will happen again,” he said. Crabapple First Baptist Church, in Milton, Ga., where Robert Aaron Long was a member.Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times The Baptist church that counted Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in a series of deadly spa shootings, as an active member posted a lengthy statement on its website Friday morning that called this week’s attacks “the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind.” “We want to be clear that this extreme and wicked act is nothing less than rebellion against our Holy God and His Word,” the statement from Crabapple First Baptist Church, in Milton, Ga., said. “The shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice, and such actions are completely unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.” The police said that Mr. Long, 21, told them that he has a sexual addiction, and that the shootings were an attempt to eliminate temptation. Mr. Long has been charged with eight counts of murder in the attacks on three Atlanta-area massage businesses on Tuesday. Crabapple First Baptist strictly prohibits sex outside of marriage. Mr. Long had previously checked himself into a Christian rehab clinic in order to combat what he perceived as an addiction. The Atlanta police said on Thursday that Mr. Long had been a customer at two of the spas that were targeted in the attacks, but did not specify whether he had sought anything more than a massage. The church’s statement placed the blame fully on Mr. Long. “The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders,” the church said. “These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible.” The church said it was cooperating with law enforcement and that it deeply regretted “the fear and pain Asian-Americans are experiencing as a result of Aaron’s inexcusable actions.” Mr. Long and his family have been active members of the conservative evangelical church for many years. Mr. Long was baptized there as an adult in 2018, according to a now-deleted Facebook post from the church. The statement on Friday said the church had begun the process of “church discipline” to remove Mr. Long from its membership. Memorials at Gold Spa in Atlanta, one of the businesses where a gunman killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent. Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times The four victims who were killed at two spas in Atlanta as part of a shooting spree that left eight people dead were identified on Friday morning. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office and family members identified the women as Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, 63. All of the victims were women of Asian descent. The authorities had withheld the names for several days after the shooting on Tuesday as they sought to notify the proper family member of one of the victims. The statement from the medical examiner’s office said three of the women had been shot in the head and one had been shot in the chest, but included little more information. Hyun Jung Grant with her sons, Randy Park, left, and Eric Park, right, when they were young.Credit...via Randy and Eric ParkMs. Grant, 51, was an employee at Gold Spa. She spent most of her time working, rising early and returning late at night, according to her son, Eric Park. A single mother, she worried about helping her two sons with their college tuition and paying the rent and bills on the home they shared in Duluth, Ga. She did not speak much about her job, preferring to tell people that she worked at a makeup store. “She didn’t want us to worry about her ever,” said Eric Park, 20. On her free days, she liked to take Eric and his older brother, Randy, 22, to the aquarium or the mall. They would usually end up at a Korean restaurant, sharing galbi or sundubu, a spicy tofu stew Ms. Grant craved. She was playful and fun and had a young spirit — she liked to say she had the mind of a young teenager, Eric Park said. She enjoyed watching Korean dramas and whipped up bowls of kimchi chigae. “As long as we were together, she was pretty happy,” he said. The trio was close-knit, as the rest of their family lived in Korea and the brothers did not have a relationship with their father, Eric Park said. Ms. Grant was a supportive mother who encouraged her sons to carve out their own futures. Ms. Grant’s sons learned about Tuesday’s shooting from a Gold Spa employee’s daughter, but did not know their mother had died until late that night when a relative in Korea saw her name in a report. “All I can think about is her,” Eric said. “Looking at the news just gets me mad. That deputy saying the shooter had a bad day — how is that a bad day? To me it’s a hate crime no matter how it looked.” Clockwise from top left: Xiaojie Tan; Delaina Ashley Yaun; Paul Andre Michels; Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz.Credit...Clockwise from top left: Kennesaw Police Department, via Facebook; via Dana Toole; Kennesaw Police Department, via Facebook; via Flor GonzalezThe police had already identified the four victims who were killed at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County, a suburb, which the gunman had targeted before driving to the two spas in the City of Atlanta. Xiaojie Tan, the hardworking owner of Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Ga., made her patrons feel at home and treated her friends like family, one longtime customer said on Thursday. Two days ahead of her 50th birthday, Ms. Tan was among eight people killed at three spas in the Atlanta area. One of her employees, Daoyou Feng, was also among those left dead on Tuesday. The suspected gunman, Robert Aaron Long, has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. Greg Hynson, the longtime customer of Ms. Tan, described her as “just the sweetest, kindest, most giving person.” Among the other victims were: Delaina Ashley Yaun: Ms. Yaun, 33, was on a date with her husband when she was killed. A mother of two, Ms. Yaun had grown up in the area and had worked at a Waffle House restaurant. Paul Andre Michels: Mr. Michels, 54, who came from a large family, was a businessman and an Army veteran. He grew up in Detroit and moved to Georgia about 25 years ago. Three women were killed on Tuesday at the Gold Spa in Atlanta.Credit...Jeenah Moon for The New York Times The Atlanta Police Department arrested at least 11 people and charged them with prostitution-related offenses between 2011 and 2014 at a massage business where three women were killed this week, according to department records. The arrests were made after massage therapists at the business, Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta, offered to perform sexual acts on undercover officers for money, the records show. The officers were following up on anonymous tips, the department said. The records, provided in response to a request from The New York Times, contradict what Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said at a news conference this week. “As far as we know in Atlanta, these are legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar, not on the radar of A.P.D.,” the mayor said. Elise M. Durham, a spokeswoman for the mayor, who took office in 2018, stressed that the mayor’s comment came just a day after the killings. “‘As far as we know’ is the operative piece of that sentence. Obviously this was less than 24 hours after the incident,” Ms. Durham said. “The most recent incident that we know of was in 2014, which obviously predates this administration by several years. As the investigation continues, we are continuing to find new information.” Robert Aaron Long, 21, is charged with murder in the deaths of the three women at Gold Spa on Tuesday, as well as five other people at two other massages businesses in the Atlanta area. Six of the eight victims, including all three of the victims at Gold Spa, were women of Asian descent. The Atlanta police said on Thursday that Mr. Long had been a customer at Gold Spa, as well as the nearby Aromatherapy Spa, where one woman was killed. They did not specify whether he had sought anything more than a massage at the two businesses. The police said the massage therapists arrested at Gold Spa between 2011 and 2014 charged $60 for a massage and offered to perform a variety of sex acts for up to $400. The women were charged with prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, masturbation for hire and other offenses. It is unclear who owned the spa at the time of the arrests. Several of the reports show that the women who were arrested had listed the spa as both their work and home addresses. Human trafficking advocates have said that women who work at illicit Asian massage spas are often coerced into performing sexual work, and live in a state of essential indentured servitude. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/1:19 -0:00 transcript Police Say Atlanta Shooting Suspect Frequented 2 Spas He Targeted The Atlanta Police said on Thursday that Robert Aaron Long, charged with killing eight people at Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent, had been a customer of at least two of the three businesses. “We are not done. In most cases of homicides, we don’t have a quick apprehension, there’s usually a lengthy investigation, especially when there’s involving multiple victims. And so, again, we’re still working very diligently to ascertain all the facts so we can have a successful prosecution because that’s what’s most important now. So I was hoping that we would be able to release the names of the victims, but we are not able to do that at this time. And the reason is we need to make sure that we have a true verification of their identities, and that we make the proper next of kin notification.” Reporter: “The investigation into a possible hate crime. Is that still on the table?” “Our investigation is looking at everything. So nothing is off the table for our investigation.” Reporter: “Any indication the suspect visited those spas?” “Now, early in our investigation, it appears that he may have frequented those locations, yes. I can’t say that he specifically targeted those individuals. But you know, what I will say is that he did frequent, as the question keeps coming up, that he did frequent those two locations within Atlanta.” The Atlanta Police said on Thursday that Robert Aaron Long, charged with killing eight people at Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent, had been a customer of at least two of the three businesses.CreditCredit...Chang W. Lee/The New York TimesAs the man charged with murder in the Atlanta spa shootings was put in a jail uniform and brought to a cell on Tuesday night, hours after the attacks, he asked a sheriff’s deputy if he was going to spend “the rest of his life” in jail, according to a police report. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, who has been charged with eight counts of murder in the attacks on three massage businesses, was captured on an interstate in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Deputy Tara Herrick of the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office wrote in the police report that Mr. Long’s comments were captured on an officer’s body camera. He had been taken into custody after a Georgia State Police officer bumped his car, forcing it to turn sideways and come to a stop. The authorities have said that Mr. Long told them he was on his way to Florida to commit more violence on a business tied to the pornography industry there. The attacks on the spas, which left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent, stoked a furious outcry over escalating anti-Asian violence. As investigators on Friday continued to investigate whether to classify the attacks as a hate crime, people who knew Mr. Long offered new details about a dangerous collision of sexual loathing and what a former roommate described as “religious mania” that marked his life in the years before the shooting spree. Mr. Long had grown up in a conservative Baptist church that strictly prohibited sex outside of marriage, and he appeared fixated on guilt and lust in the months before the attacks. He grew frustrated and distraught when he failed to curb his sexual urges, said Tyler Bayless, a former roommate who lived with Mr. Long at a halfway house near Atlanta for about five months beginning in August 2019. Mr. Long used a flip phone so that he could not access pornography, and he once asked Mr. Bayless to take away his computer, which already blocked many websites. Nearly once a month, Mr. Long would admit he had again relapsed by visiting a massage business for sex, Mr. Bayless said. The Atlanta police said Mr. Long had been a customer at the two spas in the city that were targeted. They did not specify whether he had sought anything more than a massage, and the authorities in Cherokee County did not say whether he had visited the spa that was attacked there. In early 2020, Mr. Long moved from the halfway house for more intensive treatment at HopeQuest, a Christian addiction center, and the two men fell out of touch, Mr. Bayless said. “I think he just felt like he could not be trusted out there alone,” Mr. Bayless added, referring to Mr. Long’s inability to stop visiting the spas. Mourners left tributes to the victims at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Ga., after the deadly shooting there.Credit...Jeenah Moon for The New York Times Until Tuesday, when eight people were killed in Atlanta-area spas, it had been a year since there had been a large-scale shooting in a public place. In 2018, the year that a gunman killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., there were 10 mass shootings where four or more people were killed in a public setting. The following year, when a gunman targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people, there were nine. “Those were the worst years on record,” said Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and a co-founder of the Violence Project, a research center that studies gun violence. But before Tuesday’s horrifying attacks there had been no such killings since March 2020, when the pandemic forced most businesses, workplaces and schools to close, according to the Violence Project. In early 2020, before the pandemic hit, there were two large-scale shootings, said Professor Peterson. In February, a gunman killed five of his co-workers at the Molson Coors campus in Milwaukee. The following month, a man killed four people at a gas station in Springfield, Mo. Still, other types of gun violence increased significantly in 2020, according to Gun Violence Archive, which researches shootings. There were more than 600 shootings in which four or more people were shot by one person compared with 417 in 2019. Many of those shootings involved gang violence, fights and domestic incidents, where the perpetrator knew the victims, Professor Peterson said. The early research suggests that widespread unemployment, financial stress, a rise in drug and alcohol addiction, and a lack of access to community resources caused by the pandemic contributed to the increase in shootings in 2020. At the same, the news media’s focus on the coronavirus and the lack of high-profile mass shootings may have removed another contributing factor: the tendency of gunmen to mimic other killers who gain notoriety, Professor Peterson said. She said that scholars were now worried that the intense attention on the Georgia shootings could contribute to an increase in similar crimes. “There had been a hope that maybe we broke the cycle and maybe we won’t return,” Professor Peterson said. “Now that it’s back, a number of scholars are really concerned.” Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, said many Asian-American women viewed the attacks this week in Atlanta as a culmination of racialized misogyny.Credit...Youngrae Kim for The New York Times After eight people, six of them Asian women, were fatally shot this week in a rampage near Atlanta, a law enforcement official said that in the gunman’s own words, his actions were “not racially motivated,” but caused by “sexual addiction.” The official, Capt. Jay Baker of the Sheriff’s Office in Cherokee County, where one of the three massage businesses targeted by the gunman was located, cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages. But the implication was clear: It had to be one motive or the other, not both. That suggestion was met with incredulity by many Asian-American women, for whom racism and sexism have always been inextricably intertwined. For them, racism often takes the form of unwanted sexual come-ons, and sexual harassment is often overtly racist. With reports of anti-Asian attacks surging after the Trump administration repeatedly emphasized China’s connection to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is evidence that most of the hate, unlike other types of bias crime, has been directed at women. “People on here literally debating if this was a misogynistic attack against women or a racist attack against Asians,” Jenn Fang, the founder of a long-running Asian-American feminist blog, Reappropriate, wrote in a scathing Twitter thread. “What if — wait for it — it was both.” Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an advocacy group, said that when she first came to the United States to attend college in 2000, she was “stunned, dumbfounded, horrified” by the way she was frequently approached by male strangers who professed to love Korean women. “It is the ‘Me so horny, I love you long time,’ in like weird accents, and ‘Oh, are you Korean? I love Korea,’” she said, adding that she began to wonder if American men were crazy. She said many Asian-American women viewed Tuesday’s shooting rampage as the culmination of this racialized misogyny. “I’m telling you, most of us didn’t sleep well last night,” she said. “Because this was what we had feared all along — we were afraid that the objectification and the hypersexualization of our bodies was going to lead to death.” Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, right, speaking to the news media on Wednesday.Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times A sheriff’s deputy will no longer serve as his agency’s spokesman for the investigation into the Atlanta-area spa shootings after he drew criticism for saying that the suspect in the attacks had “a really bad day” before the shootings, and for anti-Asian Facebook posts that he made last year. The deputy, Capt. Jay Baker, was no longer speaking on behalf of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office on the shooting, according to a spokeswoman for the county. The spokeswoman, Erika Neldner, said in a text message on Thursday that she would be taking over the communications duties in the case. At a news conference on Wednesday, Captain Baker discussed the frame of mind of the man charged with eight counts of murder in Tuesday’s shootings. He said that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Ga., had understood the gravity of his actions when he was interviewed by investigators. “He was pretty much fed up and had been kind of at the end of his rope,” Captain Baker said. “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.” The comments were widely panned on social media, with critics characterizing them as callous and pointing to Facebook posts from March 30 and April 2 of last year by Captain Baker, in which he promoted sales of an anti-Asian T-shirt. The shirts, echoing the rhetoric of President Donald J. Trump, referred to the coronavirus as an “imported virus from Chy-na.” “Place your order while they last,” Captain Baker wrote at the time in one of the posts. He did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday and Thursday. State Senator Michelle Au of Georgia said that Captain Baker’s remarks about the suspect illustrated how law enforcement treated crimes against certain groups differently, and that his Facebook posts were an example of casual, open racism toward Asian-Americans. “It’s not treated the way that other forms of racism are,” she said in an email. “It’s more accepted, it’s more palatable, it’s more tolerable for large swaths of the population.” On Thursday, the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, a nonprofit group, demanded that Captain Baker be removed from his job. “These racist social media posts that have now been shared have been on his page for almost a year,” the group wrote on Facebook, “and it took a mass shooting to bring them to light.” In a statement on Thursday, the Cherokee County sheriff, Frank Reynolds, defended Captain Baker, saying that he did not intend to disrespect any of the victims or express “empathy or sympathy” for the suspect. “Captain Baker had a difficult task before him, and this was one of the hardest in his 28 years in law enforcement,” Sheriff Reynolds said. He added, “On behalf of the dedicated women and men of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, we regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused.” Members of a safety patrol in San Francisco’s Chinatown helped a woman cross the street on Thursday.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times In early February, Asian-American community leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area organized protests after the killing of an older Thai man and a spate of attacks in Oakland’s Chinatown. Prosecutors, politicians and police chiefs called the attacks intolerable and vowed to crack down. But in the weeks that followed, reports of violence against people of Asian descent have multiplied in the Bay Area. In many cases attacks have come in broad daylight on busy streets. This week alone in San Francisco three Asian people were attacked on downtown streets, including a 75-year-old Chinese grandmother and a 83-year-old Vietnamese man. The assaults have followed a disturbing pattern: images circulate on social media of battered faces, police departments say they are searching for motives and victim’s families post pleas for assistance paying for medical bills. Danny Yu Chang, a 59-year-old travel agent from the Philippines, described returning to his office after lunch on Monday in the financial district and being clobbered on the back of the head. “When I fell down, he continued to beat me,” Mr. Chang wrote of his attacker on a GoFundMe page he set up. The police arrested a suspect, Jorge Devis-Milton, 32, who is also accused of slashing a 65-year-old white man on the same day. “After this incident I am no longer comfortable living in California and will need to look for another safe place to stay,” Mr. Chang said. Monthanus Ratanapakdee with a picture of her father, Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was shoved to the ground and died from his injuries.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York TimesNgoc Pham, the 83-year-old Vietnamese man, was grocery shopping in one of the busiest parts of San Francisco, when he was attacked by a 39-year-old man whom the police identified as Steven Jenkins. According to the police, the assailant was chased by a security guard and while being pursued punched the 75-year-old woman, whom a local television station identified as Xiao Zhen Xie. Video in the immediate aftermath of the assault shows Ms. Xie bloodied and telling officers and bystanders about her attacker. “One big punch came down on me,” she said in Cantonese, wailing in distress. “Investigators are working to determine if racial bias was a motivating factor in the incident,” the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement. The attacks come amid an increase in gun violence and murders in the Bay Area that criminologists have linked to the pandemic. The police in San Francisco this week also arrested three men accused of robbing a 67-year-old Asian man in a laundromat last month. Images of the attack were captured on security cameras and widely circulated on social media. Monthanus Ratanapakdee, the daughter of a Thai man killed in San Francisco in January, says she does not let her mother out of the house anymore because the streets are too dangerous to walk alone. “I’m scared,” Ms. Monthanus said. “This is more than a crime scene,” Woojin Kang said outside Gold Spa in Atlanta.Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times ATLANTA — A year ago, Thanh Bui lived in Minneapolis when George Floyd was killed by police officers there. He saw the way the killing so deeply affected his girlfriend, who is Black, and many of his friends. He was angry then, he said, but now he really understands how they felt, after a gunman targeted massage businesses in and around Atlanta, killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent. “Right now, I’m fighting to find some peace,” Mr. Bui, who is Vietnamese, said in Atlanta on Thursday afternoon, after he brought small bouquets of flowers to two of the spas in a strip of storefronts. Mr. Bui, 25, was not alone in being drawn to the scene of the violence. Some stopped to pray. Some came to protest. Some just came, pulled by a mix of curiosity, anger, anguish and disbelief. There were messages handwritten in marker on ripped pieces of cardboard — “Rest In Peace, beautiful angels” — and supermarket roses that still had a reduced-price sticker on the cellophane. The displays might have been modest, yet that did not diminish the hurt and confusion they were meant to convey. Many of the people who trickled through expressed a particular pain that the attacks had happened in Atlanta. The city envisions itself as a haven for diverse communities; there is a sense that it thrives because of the culture, food, ideas and ambitions that have been imported here from around the South, the country and the world. “God bless diversity,” one poster said. “Black and Asian solidarity,” said another. Most of the people at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa on Thursday did not know the women killed there. But they knew the climate. They knew the antipathy that existed toward Asian-Americans — a sentiment that they considered inextricable from the attacks, no matter what the police said of the suspect’s motivations. Mr. Kang, left, and Minwoo Nam held signs outside Gold Spa.Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York TimesMeg Ermer, 19, stopped by with her sister on a trip from Chattanooga, Tenn. She had heard taunts against Asian-Americans in high school — about eating dogs or spreading the coronavirus. “People think it’s just jokes,” she said. But those jokes, she believed, had given root to something more sinister, and she wanted to see the evidence for herself. “I think people’s attitudes need to change for their actions to change,” she said. Woojin Kang and Min Woo Nam, graduate students of theology at Emory University in Atlanta, held signs outside one of the spas for hours. Passers-by honked and waved their fists out of car windows in solidarity. “This is more than a crime scene,” Mr. Kang, 27, said. “We need to stand on these grounds.” They hoped that the violence might cause others to understand what the Asian-American community has had to confront. “We all need to lament together,” Mr. Kang said, “to scream out together.” “Look,” he said, with disappointment, gesturing to a parking lot outside of the spa where he and Mr. Nam had, for a long stretch, been the only ones there with posters. But a few minutes later, a few dozen people marched up the street, chanting, “Justice! Now!”