8 victims of Atlanta-area spa shooting identified
Hyun Jung Grant loved disco and club music, often strutting or walking on the moon while doing household chores and playing with his sons to exploding tunes in the car.
The single mom has found ways to have fun despite working “almost every day” to support her two sons, eldest son Randy Park, 22, said.
“I learned to walk on the moon because, like, I saw her walking on the moon vacuuming when I was a kid,” Park said.
On Tuesday night, Park was at home playing video games when he heard that a gunman had opened fire on the Atlanta massage company where his mother worked. He rushed to the scene and then to a police station to obtain more information. But it is by word of mouth that he learns that his mother is dead.
Grant, 51, was among eight people shot dead at three massage companies in the Atlanta area. The Fulton County medical examiner released his identity on Friday along with those of three other victims: Soon Chung Park 74; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Authorities in neighboring Cherokee County previously identified the others as 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun; Paul André Michels, 54 years old; Daoyou Feng, 44 years old; and Xiaojie Tan, 49, who owned one of the massage companies.
Seven of those killed were women, and six of them were of Asian descent. Police have charged a 21-year-old white man with the murders, claiming he was solely responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 2019.
The situation was distressing for Park, who said he was unable to claim his mother’s body from the medical examiner’s office due to a complication with his last name, which is legally Grant. Park said the name comes from a marriage he can’t remember, and he can’t find any papers showing a separation to prove he’s the next of kin.
Authorities said Robert Aaron Long, who is charged with eight counts of murder, told them he was not racially motivated. Park rejected the idea that the shootings were not fueled by anti-Asian sentiment. Still, he said his mother had raised him to believe people were basically good, even though “sometimes things go horribly wrong.”
It was not immediately clear which of the Atlanta companies employed Grant.
Her work was a sensitive topic, Park said, noting the stigma often associated with massage businesses. She told her sons that they should tell others that she was working on makeup with her friends.
Ultimately, Park said, he didn’t care what she did for the job.
“She loved me and my brother enough to work for us, to devote her whole life to it,” he said. “That’s enough.”
Michels owned a security systems installation business, a trade he learned after moving to the Atlanta area over 25 years ago.
He was talking about changing jobs, but never had the chance. He was shot and killed at Youngs Asian Massage on Tuesday along with three other people.
“From what I understand, he was at the spa that day doing work for them,” Michels’ younger brother John Michels of Commerce, Michigan said.
Paul Michels could also have spoken to the spa owner about how the business was run, his brother said, as he had thought about opening a spa himself.
“His age has caught up with him. You get to a point where you’re tired of going up and down ladders, ”said John Michels. “He was actually looking to create 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 No.8.
Although they were born two and a half years apart, “he was basically my twin,” said John Michels. Both enlisted in the military 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 low-voltage electrical work, installing telephones, and installing security systems. He also met his wife, Bonnie, and they were married for over 20 years.
“He was a good, hard-working man who would do what he could to help people,” said John Michels. “He would lend you money if you needed it sometimes.” You never left home hungry.
The day before her assassination, Yaun stopped by Rita Barron’s store to say hello and show photos of her 8-month-old daughter.
“She said, ‘I’m happy. I want another baby, ”said Barron, who got to know Yaun from eating at Waffle House where the new mother worked.
Yuan and her new husband returned to the mall where Gabby’s store is located on Tuesday, but this time they made their way to Youngs Asian Massage. They had planned it as a day for Yaun to relax while a parent looked after their baby girl.
Barron and her husband, Alejandro Acosta, heard gunshots inside the shop and later noticed that a bullet had passed through the wall. She called 911, and after the police arrived, Acosta watched them come out of the company, some bleeding and injured. Among those who came out was Yaun’s husband, unharmed but distraught. His wife had been killed.
“As you can imagine, he’s totally destroyed, without force, doesn’t want to talk to anyone,” said Acosta, who added that he had spoken with Yaun’s husband twice since the shooting.
Family members said Yaun and her husband were first-time clients at Youngs, eager to relax.
“They are innocent. They didn’t do anything wrong, ”Yaun’s crying mother, Margaret Rushing, told WAGA-TV. “I just don’t understand why he took my daughter.”
This story has been edited to correct the name Youngs Asian Massage.
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