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Spa shooter pleads guilty

Human Race: Aaron Long gets four life sentences but faces charges in four more shootings


Robert Aaron Long stands before Judge Ellen McElyea. Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Spa shooter pleads guilty
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Sentenced

Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty to four of the eight murders he is accused of committing in March. The shooting spree at Asian massage businesses in the Atlanta area stoked fear of race-based violence among Asian Americans. On July 27, a judge gave Long four sentences of life in prison without parole in the killings at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County, Ga. Prosecutors there said they believe shame over having engaged in inappropriate behavior at the businesses motivated Long, 22, to commit the killings—not racial hatred. Long said he planned to kill himself the day of the shootings but decided to kill the people inside the spas instead. Across the county line in Atlanta, prosecutors plan to request a “hate crime sentence enhancement” and the death penalty if a jury convicts Long of murder. He allegedly shot and killed four women of Asian descent at two spas in the city.

Testified

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told members of a U.S. House panel he thought he was going to die during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Three other police officers testified about their experiences before the Democrat-led committee on July 27. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone said he could hear rioters chanting, “Kill him with his own gun.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said it was important to “find the truth,” but many in the GOP called the committee redundant because of other investigations. They also complained Pelosi stacked the committee with members who will ask only the questions she wants them to ask.

Exited

After a shaky performance on vault on July 27, world champion American gymnast Simone Biles walked away with her trainer and returned to cheer from the sidelines for the rest of the team final. She said she was not in the right “headspace” to compete. The Russian Olympic Committee women’s team took gold, pulling three points ahead of Team USA, which won silver. “We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we’re human, too,” Biles later said. “So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.” She also withdrew from the all-round final two days later.

Renamed

After more than a century as the Indians, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will no longer go by that name. The decision follows nearly a year of discussions, 140 hours of interviews with community leaders and office personnel, and survey results from 40,000 fans. Owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social tensions pushed him to fast-track the name change. The team stopped wearing the caricatured “Chief Wahoo” logo in 2018 after years of protests from Native American groups. Dolan said two 1932 stone art deco statues known as “the traffic guardians” at the entryway of Cleveland’s Hope Memorial Bridge inspired the new name. “Guardians” is the fifth franchise name since Cleveland became a major league team.

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