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Members of the Bad Asian and Civic Walls groups paint a mural near Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta in remembrance of the eight lives lost at the three spa shootings last week. Photo: Megan Varner via Getty Images

The 21-year-old white man who confessed to opening fire at three Atlanta-area spas and killing eight people, including six Asian women, has been charged with "malice murder" and aggravated assault, a county sheriff said Monday.

Why it matters: The killings spurred nationwide outrage over anti-Asian violence in the U.S. Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders and public officials have called for police to rule the shootings a hate crime, arguing that law enforcement are unable to recognize a case of anti-Asian hate.

Details: Robert Aaron Long already faced eight charges of murder. The Cherokee Sheriff's Office also earlier charged him with one count of assault.

  • Malice murder is an offense in Georgia alleging implied or express malice. It's unclear whether a racial motive has been ruled out.

What they're saying: "In an effort to preserve the case for prosecution, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office will not be making any additional comments about this case at this time," the sheriff's office said in a statement to news outlets.

The big picture: Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the pandemic started, with Asian women more than twice as likely to report hate incidents than Asian men, per Stop AAPI Hate.

  • Over 183 national organizations led by AAPI groups are calling on President Biden to set aside $300 million for addressing anti-Asian hate.
  • Last week, the president urged passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would improve hate crime tracking and tap a Justice Department official for reviewing COVID-related hate crimes, among other things.

Go deeper: Why attacks against the AAPI community are difficult to prosecute as hate crimes

Go deeper

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Photo:

Eight people who were killed along with several others who were injured in a Thursday evening shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis have been identified by local law enforcement.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.