“Grieving, healing and reflection:” Victims’ friends, families mark 1 year since spa shootings

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Wednesday marks exactly one year since eight people were shot and killed by a gunman at three different spas in the Atlanta metro.

Hundreds of people are expected to gather at two rallies that will honor those victims.

Channel 2′s Chris Jose has covered every angle of the story since the beginning.

Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. A year later, attacks on Asian Americans are still happening every day.

Greg Hynson said he thinks about his friend, Xiaojie Tan, every single day. He said it’s tough for him to hold back his tears.

“There’s just no excuse for what this person did and how they did it. There’s no excuse,” Hynson said.

On March 16, 2021, eight people were shot and killed at three metro spas – one in Cherokee County and two in Atlanta.

Tan owned the spa in Cherokee County where the gunman killed four of those people. Victim Daoyou Feng worked for Tan.

“My sister, Daoyou Feng, came to the United States by herself to look for a better life. To help the family,” Feng’s sibling said during a rally on Saturday honoring the lives lost.

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Robert Peterson’s mother was shooting victim Yong Ae Yu.

“Our family not only grieves on March 16, but every day,” Peterson said.

Peterson said he and his family miss all the “small things” they took for granted.

“Life after this tragedy has been about grieving, healing and reflection. But this past year has not been easy,” Peterson said.

Hynson remains in close touch with Tan’s family. He plans to pay his respects privately where she’s buried.

“They’re trying to be strong. They’re trying to be tough. But I can’t imagine it’s easy for her,” Hynson said.

Jose received a statement from Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds. He said in part:

“We want to honor the memory of each of the precious lives that were so tragically taken, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their families.”

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