ATLANTA — With the identities of all victims of Tuesday’s shootings at three Atlanta-area spas now public, details remained scant Friday on several of the eight who were killed by a gunman.
The victims included six women of Asian descent and a woman and man who were white. Four of the women were shot down at two Atlanta spas. Soon Chung Park, 74, Yong Ae Yue, 63, and Hyun Jung Grant, 51, died of gunshot wounds to the head. Suncha Kim, 69, had fatal wounds to the chest.
Three other women and a man who died at a spa in the northwest suburb of Acworth had been identified previously. The victims included workers at the spas, a handyman and a customer. A man who was standing in the parking lot of the suburban spa when he was shot survived and was hospitalized.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, who is white, is charged with murder in the killings at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta and Young’s Asian Massage, 25 miles away.
Here is what is known so far about the nine victims, including the survivor:
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
Yaun was a Waffle House server and grill operator who came into work every morning singing and blasting gospel music from her cellphone.
“She was a beautiful person, 100% caring,” John Beck, 27, her friend and former Waffle House manager, told The Times. “The kind of person would give the shirt off her back to anyone.”
He said that when Yaun started working at the Waffle House three years ago, she let homeless people inside the restaurant, paid for their meals and sometimes brought them back to her home to let them bathe and give them clothes.
Yaun raised her 13-year-old son as a single mother and had long wanted another child, Beck said. But she struggled to find the right man — until last year when she met Mario Gonzalez. Eight months ago, she gave birth to their daughter.
“She ended up having a baby, got married,” Beck said. “She was truly happy, and she was the type of person that deserved happiness.”
Friends said that Yaun and Gonzalez were excited to go to Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, just a few blocks from the Waffle House, on Tuesday evening to unwind. Yaun was shot to death; Gonzalez was spared.
“Mario is completely devastated,” Cristy Lynn McGouirk, who identified herself as Yaun’s cousin, posted on Facebook. “They were on a date night, and just wanted to relax. In a blink of an eye, she was taken from him.”
“She had real good heart to her,” Dustin Norman, 33, a friend and neighbor from Acworth, said as he stood outside the spa Thursday with a bouquet of yellow, lavender and white daisies. “She did not deserve to go like this.”
Paul Andre Michels, 54
A businessman and U.S. Army veteran, Michels had been working at Young’s as a handyman.
“He was a good, kind, loving guy,” his brother John Michels, 52, told The Times.
The brothers grew up outside Detroit in a family of nine children. John said Paul served in the Army and owned businesses in home security and theater before moving to Georgia about 25 years ago.
A hardworking Catholic who was politically conservative, Michels had been married for two decades, his brother said.
In an interview with Atlanta news station CBS46, a family friend, Kikiana Whidby, said Michels was unemployed and was doing handiwork for the spa to make ends meet.
Whidby, who said Michels and his wife were godparents to her son, said he had built a shelf for the spa on Tuesday.
“He had been out of work for a while, and this was something that came to him and he was really excited about,” she told the station. “I’m mad. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49
Xiaojie Tan, who went by Emily, was a mother, small-business owner and cosmetologist who lived in the town of Kennesaw, about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta, and had an adult daughter who recently graduated from the University of Georgia.
An immigrant from China who visited her family there each New Year, Tan was the owner of Young’s, which is in Cherokee County.
Public records show she held several licenses in cosmetology — including face and nails — as well as massage therapy in Florida and Georgia.
“She was the hardest-working person. She was always working,” said a close friend who came to the spa Thursday. “It’s so sad. Today is her birthday. She was supposed to turn 50 today.”
Daoyou Feng, 44
Besides her name and age, no information has been released about Feng, who was killed at Young’s.
Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30
A mechanic from Guatemala, Hernandez-Ortiz was standing in a parking lot near Young’s when he was shot, according to family members who spoke to local media television stations in Georgia.
“Please pray for my family and the families that were affected by this shooting,” his wife, Flora Gonzalez Gomez, wrote on a GoFundMe page.
She said her husband — the only shooting victim who survived — was hospitalized in intensive care.
“He was shot in the forehead down to his lungs and stomach,” Gomez said. “He will be needing facial surgery.”
Soon Chung Park, 74
The eldest of the victims, who went by Julie, is known only to have come from New York, Korea Times Atlanta reported.
Suncha Kim, 69
A New Jersey native, Kim moved to Atlanta 15 years ago, the Korean-language newspaper reported. She has children in New York, where her funeral will be held, the paper said.
Connie Jee, co-founder and executive director of the Asian American Resource Center in Atlanta, said Suncha’s daughter told her that Suncha lived at Gold Spa and helped with meals and laundry for employees.
Yong Ae Yue, 63
Yue, a licensed massage therapist, lived in Duluth, Ga. She was shot when she opened the door of Aromatherapy Spa, thinking that Long was a customer, the Korea Times reported.
Hyun Jung Grant, 51
Grant was a single mother from South Korea who dedicated her life to providing for her family, her son Randy Park said.
Hyun-ji, as she was affectionately called, was “a beautiful, vibrant person who loved life, who loved her kids,” her cousin, Shannon Pugh, of Beaverton, Ore., said in an interview Friday, the day she learned of her death.
“I’m just mad, I’m angry, I’m hurt,” she said, reflecting on the victims. “I hope they get justice. I hope this man is put away.”
Park wrote on a GoFundMe fundraising account that he and his brother, Eric, were the only family members in the United States, adding that the rest of their family was in South Korea.
“She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today,” Park, 23, wrote about his mother. “Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world.”
Park said he has had little time to grieve. Without his mother’s income at the spa, he worried that he and his brother could not afford to live in their current home in Duluth, a booming suburb about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta that has a rapidly growing Asian population.
“My biggest priority right now is to put my mother to rest and plan out the funeral, but due to some legal complications, I am unable to obtain my mother’s body,” he wrote as he appealed for money for rent, food and monthly bills. “I wish to stay in my current home for at least one more month to sort everything out.”
Park set a $20,000 goal for his fundraising campaign. Within 20 hours, donors gave more than $1.8 million.
Many of the 42,000 people who contributed gave small contributions. One person gave $5,000.
“Randy, take care of yourself and your brother,” a donor named Somsany Phakonekham wrote in the comments. “Do not let the hate of other individuals divide you from the rest of the world.”
In thanks, Park wrote, “I will live the rest of my days grateful for what has essentially given my family a second chance.”
Times staff writers Jaweed Kaleem in Los Angeles, Don Lee in Washington and special correspondent Elena Shao in Acworth contributed to this report.