A total of eight people were killed in the three shootings; six were of Asian descent, and seven were women. The identities of four victims of the Cherokee County attack were confirmed to Complex by a sheriff’s office rep to be 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels; Xiaojie Tan, age 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was injured.
All four women identified in a subsequent March 18 statement from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office were Korean: Soon Chung Park, who was 74 years old; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, who was 63. Autopsies determined Kim died of gunshot wounds to the chest; the other three homicides on the March 18 statement are listed as “gunshot wound of head.”
Xiaojie Tan, who also went by Emily, owned Young’s Asian Spa as well as a second business in a neighboring city. “She did everything for me and for the family,” her daughter told USA Today. “She provided everything. She worked every day, 12 hours a day, so that me and our family would have a better life.”
Hyun Jung Grant (maiden name Kim) was a single mother whose 23-year-old son Randy Park told the same newspaper she loved karaoke, dancing, and music. “She dedicated her whole life to raising us, but even then she found time to enjoy herself with her friends,” he said. Park started a GoFundMe page, writing, “It is only my brother and I in the United States. The rest of my family is in South Korea and are unable to come. She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today. Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world.” That fundraiser has garnered $1.34 million via over 33,500 donors; the initial goal was $20,000.
Yong Ae Yue’s sons told Kathy Park of NBC News, “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved mother, and words cannot adequately describe our grief. To all those who have reached out to provide support and words of encouragement, thank you.”
Delaina Ashley Yaun was the mother of a 13-year-old boy and 8-month-old girl; she and her husband were wed less than a year ago and at the spa together for a date. USA Today reported via Yaun’s half-sister that Delaina’s husband locked himself in a separate room and was not hurt. “He’s taking it hard. … He heard the gunshots and everything,” said the relative. “You can’t escape that when you’re in a room and gunshots are flying—what do you do?”
Paul Andre Michels was an Army veteran and owner of an alarm company who had lived in the city for 26 years with his wife Bonnie. His brother said he was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, as reported in the Washington Post, is an auto repair shop-owner and mechanic from Guatemala; he sustained wounds to his forehead, throat, lungs, and stomach and is in critical condition. “I have been shot! Please come! I need you!” were the last words his wife of a decade, Flora Gonzalez Gomez, heard from Hernandez-Ortiz on the phone. When she spoke to the Post, her husband had a bullet in his stomach that was currently too risky to be taken out.
The paper reports that “doctors have told Gonzalez [Gomez] there are positive signs that [Elcias] will recover” and that their family is “devastated” by the mass murder. “I just can’t understand why anyone would do something like this,” Gonzalez Gomez said. The Post noted “she believed her husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time” and that he had spoken the night prior about heading to a business near the spa to wire their parents in Guatemala some money.
Flora Gonzalez Gomez started a GoFundMe to help cover medical bills, and specifically facial surgery Hernandez-Ortiz will require. So far they’ve raised $112,000 of their $150K goal.
In a tweeted statement on Tuesday, a rep for the national Stop AAPI Hate coalition called the violence an “unspeakable tragedy.”