Arrested Atlanta Massage Parlors Shooter Talked of Faith at Southern Baptist Church - Word&Way

Arrested Atlanta Massage Parlors Shooter Talked of Faith at Southern Baptist Church

On Tuesday (March 16), authorities arrested a 21-year-old White man for allegedly shooting people at three massage parlors in the Atlanta, Georgia, area — killing eight people, including six Asian women. Robert Aaron Long, the man arrested for the murders, was involved in a Southern Baptist church and wrote online about his faith.

“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life,” read an Instagram account reportedly belonging to him.

Long and his family attend Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. And the church is part of the Founders Ministries, a group pushing Calvinism within Southern Baptist life and that has fought against Critical Race Theory, defended the slavery of the SBC founders, and condemned Vice President Kamala Harris to hell.

A video of Long’s 2018 baptism was on the church’s Facebook page, but that page and the church’s website and YouTube account have seen been taken down.

In the video, he mentioned an earlier baptism but said that “after that time, there wasn’t any fruit from the root that is our salvation.” Then he compared himself to the prodigal son.

“The son goes off and squanders all that he has and lives completely for himself and then, when he finds he’s wanting to eat pig food, he realized there’s something wrong and he goes back to his father and his father runs back to him and embraces him,” Long added in the video. “And by the grace of God I was able to draw the connection there and realize this is a story between what happened with me and God. I ran away living completely for myself, and he still wants me, and so that’s when I was saved.”

The church’s elders released a statement after news of his arrest.

“We are grieved to hear the tragic news about the multiple deaths in the Atlanta area. We are heartbroken for all involved,” the statement reads. “We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them. Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well.”

Police have not yet announced a motive for the shootings, though fears quickly ripped through Asian American communities already seeing a rise in hate incidents. A study released earlier this month showed a dramatic rise in verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, during which some politicians used anti-Asian slurs.