Mario González and his wife, Delaina Ashley Yaun, had only recently arrived at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Ga., before the shooting started on March 16. González feared for his wife, who was in a separate room–they were clients, having booked massage as part of a date night.
But when police arrived, they detained González for nearly four hours.
The survivor told Spanish-language outlet Mundo Hispánico that he was handcuffed and led out of the establishment and ultimately into a police car, despite telling authorities that his wife was inside. He pleaded with them to know her status. He says he was ignored.
“Maybe because I’m Mexican, I don’t know. Because the truth is they treated me badly,” he says, showing marks left on his right wrist left behind by handcuffs.
Young’s Asian Massage was the first of three total establishments terrorized on the evening of March 16. Four people were murdered. The shooter went on to kill four more people at two additional Atlanta spas. Of the victims of Long’s terror, six people were Asian and two were white.
Long was unharmed in his arrest after an interstate car chase. Police found a 9mm gun in his SUV. Long has admitted to the shootings. Video evidence was also obtained.
Xenophobia and racism have surrounded this tragedy, not only because of Long’s horrendous acts against Asian-owned and operated spas, but also because of Cherokee County Police spokesperson Jay Baker’s own conduct. He told the press on March 17 that it had been “a really bad day” for Long. Baker had also posted racist comments regarding COVID-19 to his personal Facebook page, which has since been deleted. He is no longer the spokesperson for investigation.
Cherokee County Police have not responded to inquiries from The New York Times about González’ statements.
González told Mundo Hispánico that what he needs now is support. Long’s murder of Delaina Ashley Yaunn leaves two children, including an 8-month-old, without their mother. A GoFundMe has been started to collect funds.