Mar 18, 2021

Atlanta Police Press Conference on Spa Shootings Transcript March 18

Atlanta Police Press Conference on Spa Shootings Transcript March 18
RevBlogTranscriptsAtlanta Police Press Conference on Spa Shootings Transcript March 18

Atlanta law enforcement official Charles Hampton Jr. held a press conference on March 18, 2021 to provide an update on the Atlanta-area spa shootings that resulted in the deaths of 8 people on March 16. Read the transcript of the full news briefing speech here.

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Speaker 1: (00:41)
I’m going to go ahead and give everybody a heads up. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the number of questions will be limited. I don’t want everybody to get upset when I say last question. And let’s be mindful. All right, Chief.

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (00:54)
All right. Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. H-A-M-P-T-O-N. Good afternoon. First, again, I would like to offer my condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident. March 16th, a total of eight innocent lives were violently taken by the hands of one lone killer. The Atlanta Police Department continues to offer our support to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We’ve been in contact, via Chief Bryant, with many of these civic leaders of these communities. As you all know, there was definitely a joint operation that led to the swift apprehension of the suspect. Within three hours of our last homicide, this individual was captured. And it could not have been done without the efforts of our state and federal partners. As a result of that though, we still have an investigation that is still ongoing.

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (02:04)
Our investigation is separate from the Cherokee County’s investigation. Our investigation is slightly different. We had four Asian females that were killed. And so we are looking at everything to make sure that we discover and determine what the motive of our homicides were. So again, it’s just very important that let you know that we are not done. In most cases of homicides, we don’t have a quick apprehension. They’re usually a lengthy investigation, especially when there’s involving multiple victims. And so again, we’re still working very diligently to ascertain all the facts so we can have a successful prosecution, because that’s what’s most important now.

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (03:00)
So I was hoping that we would be able to release the names of the victims, but we are not able to do that this time. And the reason is we need to make sure that we have a true verification of their identities, and that we make the proper next of kin notification. And so again, I thought we were going to be able to do that. And out of respect of the lives and of the family, we want to make sure that we do that privately before we release the names of our victim publicly. Again, we can have a couple of questions. But again, it’s very important that everyone knows that, our investigation has not concluded and it’s still ongoing.

Speaker 3: (03:53)
So the investigation for a possible hate crime, is that’s still on the table?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (03:59)
Our investigation is looking at everything. So nothing is off the table for our investigation.

Speaker 4: (04:05)
Chief had a lot of reaction yesterday after Cherokee investigators said that right now, they don’t think that the hate crime and that this suspect had a bad day and said some things about sexual addiction. And some people criticized that for them saying it so early and for what he said. I know you cannot speak for the people who said that, but who does APD’s position on that?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (04:30)
Well position? Like I said, I’m only going to comment about our investigation. And again, we’re not prepared to talk a lot about what has been said, because again, we’re not trying to try the case in public. This is, again, it’s tragic. And again, we try to remember that eight families are impacted by this, and we wouldn’t be doing justice by putting a lot of this information out in the public. And especially, in our cases, where the next of kin has not been notified. So I know it’s tough. I know there are a lot of questions that want to be answered, but again, we just ask that you just respect the families that are still mourning, and some who may not even know yet. And so that’s the real key part for our victims that our victim’s next of kin can’t have not been officially notified.

Speaker 5: (05:32)
[inaudible 00:05:32] being able to identify the victims [inaudible 00:05:36] on having reached all of the family members?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (05:38)
I’m sorry?

Speaker 5: (05:42)
Do you anticipate being able to release the identities-

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (05:42)
And as soon as we verify and make those notifications, we’re working with the council and the office of the Republic of Korea also to make that verification. But as soon as we are 100% sure and notifications been made, we will definitely release those names.

Speaker 5: (06:00)
[inaudible 00:06:00] go beyond today?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:01)
Yes. Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 6: (06:03)
Is it because they’re from a different county, that’s the main hold up?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:08)
That, that creates part of the delay, yes.

Speaker 7: (06:12)
[inaudible 00:06:12].

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:12)
I’m sorry?

Speaker 7: (06:13)
Is there any indication the suspect had those spots previously?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:16)
Right now, early on our investigation, it appears that he may have frequent those locations, yes.

Speaker 8: (06:23)
And that’s what I’m going to ask you to do. Is there anything more about the suspect [inaudible 00:06:27] encountered at the location, or with any of the victims that you know of?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:31)
Not right now. I can’t be able to answer that you believe.

Speaker 8: (06:34)
Do you believe he had, [inaudible 00:06:37]?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:37)
I can say that he had frequented both of those locations, yes.

Speaker 9: (06:48)
Are you able to say he targeted the specific individuals that he actually shot and killed?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (06:48)
I will not say that. Again, I would just say that unfortunately, they were at that location. I can’t say that he specifically targeted those individuals. But what I will say is that he did frequent, as the question keeps coming up, that he did frequent those two locations within Atlanta.

Speaker 10: (07:08)
Is it also… As part of the identifying the victims, do they not have any family members in the United States? Or are all the family members overseas in Korea?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (07:16)
I’m not saying that. Again, we just want to make sure that we do our due diligence of that. Some family may reside stateside. So I may be even here in the Atlanta area. But again, we want to make sure that we do our due diligence to make sure that the identification of the victims have been handled first.

Speaker 11: (07:40)
Have you ever been called to that location before?

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (07:42)
I’m sorry.

Speaker 11: (07:43)
Have the police ever been called to-

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (07:43)
Again, I think that was addressed last week. We’ve had some incidence there, calls there. But again, that’s not why we’re here. So.

Speaker 12: (07:54)
[crosstalk 00:07:54] got his hands on the gun, the nine millimeter gun, considering his reportedly mental illness.

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.: (08:02)
I’m not sure about any mental illness. All we do know is that he did purchase the gun on the day of the incident.

Speaker 1: (08:09)
Thank you. All right, thank you everybody. One of our members of the public affairs unit will escort you out.