At least one gunman killed seven people at Atlanta-area massage parlors Tuesday and police say they are looking into whether the killings are linked and why the businesses may have been targeted.
The Atlanta Police Department responded to calls of a robbery in progress shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sergeant John Chafee said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY. Police found three women dead when they arrived at the scene.
While police were at the first scene, they received calls regarding shots fired across the street, Chafee said. They responded and found another woman who had been fatally shot inside a massage parlor.
“At this time, investigators are gathering information from both scenes to determine exactly what occurred and attempting to obtain confirmed information regarding the suspect or suspects,” Chafee said.
Roughly 45 miles north of Atlanta in Cherokee County, three people were killed and two were injured in shooting at another massage parlor. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office released a photo of a suspect on Facebook Tuesday evening.
The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
“Having these two shootings occur at massage parlors and with knowledge of Cherokee County’s shootings, Zone 2 commanders quickly dispatched officers to check nearby similar businesses and patrols have been increased in those areas,” Chafee said.
Police have not said if the shootings are related.
“Many have asked whether these shootings are related to Cherokee County’s shootings,” Chafee said. “At the moment, it is too early to confirm that, but we have spoken with Cherokee County officials and we are looking into that possibility.”
Contributing: The Associated Press.