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President Biden and Vice President Harris plan to travel to Atlanta on Friday, where they will meet with leaders of the city’s Asian-American community following a fatal shooting this week that left eight people dead, including six women. of Asian origin.

Meanwhile, Biden issued a proclamation that US flags on federal buildings be half-masted until sunset Monday to mark the massacre in Georgia.

Biden said he was ordering the lowering of the flags “as a sign of respect for victims of senseless violence” on Tuesday, when police said a single gunman shot the victims at three metropolitan massage spas in Atlanta.

The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, was charged Wednesday with four counts of murder and one count of assault in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta, where three women and a man were killed by ball at Young’s Asian Massage. Long is also charged with murder in Atlanta, where four women were killed in two separate massage spas.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect confessed to the shots, telling authorities he suffered from “sex addiction” and that the spas represented a “temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

“We think he frequented those places and maybe blasted,” Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Wednesday.

The White House has decided to cancel a rally in Atlanta to tout the passage of the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief. But the president and vice president were instead planning to visit the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get updates from officials on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, officials cited by the Atlanta Journal Constitution said. .

In addition, Biden and Harris will meet with leaders of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Atlanta on Friday and speak with state lawmakers to hear their views on the growing number of hate crimes against people of Asian descent since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which some critics say has been fueled by former President Donald Trump’s denigration of China as the source of the virus.

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