Asian business owners express fear following spa shootings that killed 8 across metro

ATLANTA — Many Asian American business owners in metro Atlanta are now living in fear as they continue to mourn the deaths of 8 people killed in a shooting spree earlier this week across metro Atlanta.

Several business owners told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that they’re very concerned for their safety.

Some are now working with their local law enforcement partners who are providing extra patrols.

One of those business owners is speaking out, saying now is the time to show support and stand in solidarity with his Asian brothers and sisters.

“My heart goes out to all the people that lost a family member, and or the people who have lost their lives themselves,” said chef Richard Tang.

Tang is an American-born child of two Asian parents who immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s. He told Seiden that he is disgusted and heartbroken after a suspected shooter went on a killing spree

murdering eight people, including six Asian women.

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“We’re all Americans, and being Americans, it’s the United States of America, it’s not the, you know, White States of America or the Black States of America, it’s the United States of America,” Tang said.

As the owner of two hit Atlanta restaurants, Char Korean Bar and Grill and Girl Diver, Tang isn’t taking any chances when it comes to his or his employees’ safety.

He said even before Tuesday’s attack, security has always been a top priority.

“There’s always at least a few guns in the building. We have Tasers and machetes, so we’re not exactly the easiest target to come after,” Tang said.

Tang’s comments come at a time when anti-Asian hate incidents have reached record numbers.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the group Stop AAPI Hate has tracked nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide, including 32 in Georgia.

“Obviously, I’m not happy about the situation and what’s happened, but this is something that’s been happening in America for a very, very, very long time. And it’s got to be addressed,” Tang said. “I know I got family members that are in New York that have been talked about the fact that they’ve gotten assaulted or this or that because of the issues.”

Tang said he hopes this tragedy will shine a light on a major problem that’s been kept in the dark for decades.

“Times are changing, and the younger Asian community is just not putting up with it anymore,” Tang said.

Atlanta Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant acknowledged that there’s a level of mistrust between the community and his force, but right now, they’re doing everything to rebuild that and listen.

“There is a lot of mistrust. It’s very understanding. Especially during these times, but it is incumbent upon us that we strengthen those relationships and to reestablish that level of trust,” Bryant said.

Bryant said he and his officers will do whatever it takes to make not only Asian Americans but everyone living and working in Atlanta feel safe.