‘Ultimately be judged by...God:’ Spa shooting survivor reacts to D.A. seeking death penalty

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — The only person to survive being shot during the horrific metro Atlanta spa shootings that left eight people dead is speaking out after learning the Fulton County District Attorney attends to seek the death penalty.

Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz says it’s a miracle he is alive after he was shot in the face at a Cherokee County spa where four people were killed. The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Long, is then accused of driving south into Atlanta, where police say he walked into two more Asian spas and opened fire. Four more people were killed there.

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Tuesday Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed notice that she intends to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty against Long.

Channel 2′s Chris Jose asked Hernandez-Ortiz his thoughts on whether or not the death penalty should be pursued. He said it is not up to him.

“I don’t want the world to hear me saying that he should or shouldn’t die,” Hernandez-Ortiz said through his attorney Doug Rohan, who translated the conversation.

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“People don’t typically get shot in the face and survive, without there being a miracle. So I want him to also understand the miracle of God, and ultimately be judged by that God,” Hernandez-Ortiz told Jose.

A spokesperson for the Cherokee County District Attorney says D.A. Shannon Wallace will make a decision whether or not to pursue the death penalty before Long’s arraignment.

“Cherokee has traditionally been very conservative, and the death penalty is viewed as a conservative issue, so I have every expectation that Cherokee will likely announce they are going down the same path,” said Rohan.

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Dana Toole’s sister Delaina Yaun was one of the eight people killed. She shared her thoughts on the death penalty with Jose.

“It won’t bring her back, I just put it in God’s hands, because it’s not my choice to take another life,” said Toole. “What is justice in this case? Making sure he stays where he’s at. If the death penalty is proceeded forward, then so be it.”

The Cherokee County indictment revealed that six other people were inside Young’s Asian Massage at the time of the shooting, but were not hurt.