WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The suspect in three Asian massage parlor shootings in Georgia was headed to Florida to possibly "carry out additional shootings," Atlanta's mayor said Wednesday morning.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, has been arrested in connection with the fatal shootings Tuesday night.
Eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in the shootings that took place within about three hours of each other.
"(Authorities) determined that the suspect was on his way to Florida, I believe, and perhaps to carry out additional shootings," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during a news conference.
She said the tragic events of Tuesday night could have been "significantly worse."
"The public, as a whole, should be grateful that this suspect was quickly apprehended, because it is very likely that there would have been more victims," Bottoms said.
Cherokee County (Georgia) Sheriff's Office Capt. Jay Baker said Long confessed to the shootings, claiming Lang told authorities he has a "sex addiction" that he wanted to eliminate.
Baker said there was no indication the shootings were racial, religious or political in nature.
Martin County deputies increase patrols
The Martin County sheriff said Wednesday there have been no threats whatsoever here, but with many spas in this area, he's concerned about copycats.
Sheriff's deputies increased patrols across the area in an abundance of caution after the Atlanta-area shootings.
"Even though this suspect who committed this atrocity in the Atlanta area is in custody, we're always afraid of knock-offs, someone who sees something and says, 'Hey, I want to do that myself,'" Sheriff William Snyder said.
Some Asian Americans in South Florida said they feel targeted.
"No one will make me believe, or my family believe, that this was not racially motivated," Jack Liufu said.
Liufu is studying chemistry at Cornell University, but his parents live in Wellington.
They are originally from China, and Liufu called his mother the moment he saw the shooting trending on social media.
"I feel like there's almost the sense of numbness, just there's been so much going on recently," Liufu said.
Snyder said he is watching the case closely and taking it seriously.
"We're enhancing patrols. We'll be in the parking lots. We'll make contact with owners where possible and let them know if you have something suspicious, please give us a call," Snyder said.
Jupiter police said their officers have been briefed on the situation and have been asked to patrol areas near spas throughout their shifts.
The FBI is now part of the investigation in Georgia.
Long is expected to appear in court Thursday.