‘Sweetest, most kind-hearted’: Friends remember victim in deadly spa shootings

ATLANTA — Friends have shared a photo of one of the eight victims of a shooting rampage targeting Asian massage parlors.

Xiaojie “Emily” Tan was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth. Friends of Tan’s said she is a mother of a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. She would have turned 50 years old on Thursday, just days after her death.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Friends told Channel 2′s Chris Jose that Tan was “the sweetest, most kind hearted, giving, never-met-a-stranger person.”

Tan was one of six Asian women and two other victims killed in the shooting spree on March 16 that targeted massage parlors in Cherokee County and Atlanta.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, was captured in Crisp County Tuesday night.

Long told the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office that he was battling sex addiction and targeting the businesses to remove temptation.

Jose talked to Greg Hynson, Tan’s friend, at the growing memorial outside her business.

“I just can’t believe she’s gone,” Hynson said.

Hynson said he had known Tan for six years and considered her a close friend. Hynson came to the spa to get massages and said he knew Tan’s employees.

“They were friends, they loved everybody,” Hynson said. “It was just the nicest group of people. I can’t put any reasoning behind why somebody would want to do something so horrific to such nice people.”

Friends said they rushed to the business after hearing about the shooting.

“My heart was in my throat the second I heard about it,” Hynson said. “And once I got here, the whole situation was just so surreal. It still doesn’t seem real.”