Six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent, prompting fears the killings were racially motivated.
One was a new mother taking a rare break from caring for her baby girl. Another was a United States Army veteran who installed security systems in the Atlanta area.
They were among eight people killed Tuesday in shootings at three metro Atlanta massage businesses. Police have charged a 21-year-old man with murder in the slayings. Authorities have now released all of the victims’ names.
Seven of the slain were women, and six of them were of Asian descent. The first to be named were 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun, 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng and 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan, who owned one of the massage businesses.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the other four women on Friday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. These included 74-year-old Soon C Park, 51-year-old Hyun J Grant, 69-year-old Suncha Kim and 63-year-old Yong A Yue.
Here is a look at some of those who died in the deadliest mass shooting in the US since 2019.
It was planned as a day for Yaun to relax.
Yaun and her husband arranged for someone to care for their eight-month daughter while they headed to Youngs Asian Massage Parlor. Family members said the couple were first-time customers, eager for a chance to unwind.
They were in separate rooms inside the spa when the gunman opened fire. Yaun was killed. Her husband escaped unharmed.
Cant stop thinking Delaina Ashley Yaun’s family. I spoke to her sister, Dana Toole, today & she shared this photo of her sister with me. She says Delaina, 33, & her husband were at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor for a date night away from their kids (8 months & 14). pic.twitter.com/fR6xZAz9RB
— Jewel Wicker (@jewelwickershow) March 18, 2021
“They’re innocent. They did nothing wrong,” Yaun’s weeping mother, Margaret Rushing, told WAGA-TV. “I just don’t understand why he took my daughter.”
Yaun’s husband could hear the gunfire inside the spa but was helpless to save his wife, said Dana Toole, Yaun’s sister.
“He’s taking it hard,” Toole said. “When you’re in a room and gunshots are flying, what do you do?”
Hyun Jung Grant, 51, loved disco and club music, often strutting or moonwalking while doing household chores and jamming with her sons to tunes blasting over the car stereo.
The single mother found ways to enjoy herself despite working “almost every day” to support two sons, said the older son, 22-year-old Randy Park.
“I learned how to moonwalk because, like, I saw her moonwalking while vacuuming when I was a kid,” Park told told the Associated Press.
Hyun Jung Grant, 51, "was a big kid," her son says.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 19, 2021
On Tuesday night, Park was at home playing video games when he heard a gunman had opened fire at the Atlanta massage business where his mother worked. He rushed to the scene and then to a police station to find out more information. But it was through word of mouth that he learned his mother was dead.
The situation has been harrowing for Park, who said he has not been able to claim his mother’s body from the medical examiner’s office because of a complication with her last name, which is legally Grant.
Park said that name is from a marriage he does not recall, and he can’t find papers showing a separation to prove that he is the next of kin.
Park told NBC news his mother “spent her whole life just existing for my brother and I.”
Michels owned a business installing security systems, a trade he learned after moving to the Atlanta area more than 25 years ago. He’d been talking about switching to a new line of work.
Michels never got to settle on a career change. He was fatally shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor along with three others.
“From what I understand, he was at the spa that day doing some work for them,” Michels’ younger brother, John Michels, told the AP.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 19, 2021
Paul Michels also might have been talking with the spa’s owner about how the business operates, his brother said, because he had been thinking about opening a spa himself.
“His age caught up to him. You get to a point where you get tired of climbing up and down ladders,” John Michels, of Commerce, Michigan, said. “He was actually looking to start his own massage spa. That’s what he was talking about last year.”
Paul Michels grew up in Detroit in a large family where he was the seventh of nine children. His brother John was number eight.
Though they were born two and a half years apart, “he was basically my twin”, John Michels said. Both enlisted in the Army after high school, with Paul joining the infantry.
A few years after leaving the military, Paul followed his brother to the Atlanta area in 1995 for a job doing low-voltage electrical work, installing phones and security systems. He also met his wife, Bonnie, and they were married more than 20 years.
“He was a good, hard-working man who would do what he could do to help people,” John Michels said. “He’d loan you money if you needed it sometimes. You never went away from his place hungry.”