Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with eight counts of murder after allegedly opening fire at three massage parlours in the Atlanta area.
Police said Long, who is white, told them he had a “sexual addiction” and have not confirmed whether Tuesday’s attack was racially motivated.
The shootings come amid a rise in attacks on Asian people in the US. Advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate said it received more than 2,800 reports of hate incidents involving Asians in America last year, with activists saying the attacks are often linked to rhetoric blaming victims for the spread of Covid-19.
Following the shootings in Georgia, celebrities shared condemned the violence against the Asian community.
Rihanna said: “What happened yesterday in Atlanta was brutal, tragic, and is certainly not an isolated incident by any means.
“AAPI hate has been rampantly perpetuated and it’s disgusting! I’m heartbroken for the Asian community and my heart is with the loved ones of those we lost yesterday. The hate must stop.”
She added the hashtag #ProtectAAPILives. AAPI stands for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Daniel Dae Kim, the South Korea-born, American star of Hawaii Five-0, said: “The race of the person committing the crime matters less than the simple fact that if you act with hate in your heart, you are part of the problem.
“And to those with the power to help and yet sit idly by, your silence is complicity.”
Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow said: “I send deep love to the Asian-American community today. You make our country better, we love you.”
Singer Janet Jackson wrote: “My heart breaks for the Asian community. Sending prayers to all affected by yesterday’s tragedy.”
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay shared tips for tackling anti-Asian hatred beyond social media.
She said: “Examine stereotypes you hold about Asian people. Work to dismantle that within yourself. Raise your voice anywhere that anti-Asian sentiment is present. Normalise calling it out.”
Chat show host Jimmy Fallon tweeted: “There is no place for racism, violence, prejudice, or misogyny of any kind, towards any one. My heart is with the victims and their families.”
Soul singer Dionne Warwick wrote: “How much longer are we going to tolerate, a word I never use, this madness of hate to continue!?”
Rapper and actor Common said an “attack on one community is an attack on all of us” and added: “We’re Stronger Together.”
Lana Condor, the Vietnamese-born American actress, urged fans to “check in” on their Asian friends.
She said: “Wake up… your Asian friends and family are deeply scared, horrified, sick to their stomachs and wildly angry. Please please please check in on us, please please please stand with us. Please. Your Asian friend needs you, even if they aren’t publicly grieving on social media.”
And Star Trek actor George Takei said: “The best thing you can do today is to speak out against violence toward Asians in this country, especially if you yourself are not Asian. Thank you to all who use their platform to spread support and love.”