ATLANTA (AP) – A man who survived the shooting that killed his wife at an Atlanta-area massage business said police handcuffed him for four hours after the attack.
Mario Gonzalez said he was kept in a patrol car outside the SPA. The revelation follows an interview with Spanish-language news website Mundo Hispanico following another criticism from Cherokee County officials investigating the March 16 attack, which killed four people. Four other people were killed about an hour later at two spas in Atlanta.
Gonzalez’s allegations could also mean that he was detained after police released security video images of the suspected gunman and officers apprehended him 150 miles south of Atlanta. He questioned whether he was treated by the authorities because he is Mexican.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white man, is accused of shooting five people, including Gonzalez’s wife, Ashley Yoon, at the first crime scene near Woodstock, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Atlanta. One person was injured. A total of seven women were killed, six of them of Asian descent.
Long had a “really bad day” and “that’s what he did.” The Cherokee Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker was removed as spokesman for the case after he told reporters the second day of the shooting. A Facebook page associated with Baker last year promoted racist-language T-shirts about China and the coronavirus.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a statement that some of Baker’s comments “caused a great deal of controversy and anger” and that the agency regretted any “heartache” caused by his words.
Gonzalez and un Ya Yaun, a one-year-old for their infant daughter, used to sit the baby out when a parent is out and went to a Young Asian massage to relax. They were in a separate room from the inside when the gunman opened fire.
Gonzalez heard gunshots and worried about his wife but was too scared to open the door, he told Mundo Hispanic in a video interview.. Deputies arrived in minutes. Gonzalez said they put him in a hand cuff and detained him for about four hours, according to the website.
Gonzalez said in the video, “They were in the patrol car all the time while investigating who is responsible, who did exactly.”
During a meeting with Mundo Hispanico, Gonzalez showed handcuffs on his wrist. “I don’t know if it’s because of the law because I’m Mexican. The simple truth is that they treated me badly, “he said.
“When they finally confirmed that I was her husband, did they tell me she was dead?” “I wanted to know before.”
Left alone to raise his daughter and his wife’s teenage son, Gonzalez said the shooter took “the most important thing of my life.”
“He deserves to die like everyone else,” Gonzalez said.
The shooting in Cherokee County took place around 5 p.m., and in the evening: 30, officials said. Images from a surveillance camera posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook at 0 a.m. are showing a suspect in the parking lot outside. Reynolds said Long’s family recognized him from the images and gave investigators his cellphone information, which they used to track him.
Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said in a video posted on Facebook that night that his deputy and state troopers were notified around 8 p.m. that the suspect had gone his way. Deputies and soldiers lined up next to the interstate and spotted the black 2007 Hyundai Tucson at 8:30 p.m.
The report was contributed by associate press writer Michael Werner.