Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday condemned a mass shooting a day earlier in Georgia that left eight people dead, most of them women of Asian descent.
Speaking at an unrelated event, the governor called the shooting “an attack on all of our communities,” saying it “reeks of racialized misogyny and comes on the heels of a year in which Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities experienced so much racist scapegoating for the COVID-19 pandemic (that) damages the soul of inclusion.
“We believe in the ability to live without fear of hate,” Pritzker said.
Five people were shot Tuesday evening at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Woodstock, Georgia, about 30 miles north of Atlanta. Two people died at the scene and three were taken to a hospital, where two died, according to The Associated Press.
Police responding to a call about a robbery that same night found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa, and then discovered another woman had been shot dead at Aromatherapy Spa across the street. Six of the victims were identified as Asian and seven were women.
“While the investigation of this sickening events of Georgia are ongoing, I am certain of one thing – fully certain – Illinois stands with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” Pritzker said. “Ours is a welcoming state today and always, and our great obligation is to live up to our ideals to allow all of our residents to find safety, community and joy in who they are and where they come from.”
According to The Associated Press, Robert Aaron Long, a white man accused of the shootings, told police the attack wasn’t racially motivated and police said it appeared it may not have been.
The Associated Press contributed.