Washington — Senator Tammy Duckworth on Sunday called for a "deeper investigation" into the motive behind thelast week that left eight people dead, including six Asian women, as well as other crimes against Asian Americans.
Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois and the first Thai American elected to Congress, told "Face the Nation" that the shooting "looks racially motivated to me," and said she has asked FBI Director Chris Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland to examine whether hate crimes against Asian Americans are underreported.
"From where I sit, I want to see a deeper investigation into whether or not these shootings and other similar crimes are racially motivated. It looks racially motivated to me," Duckworth said Sunday. "But I'm not, you know, I'm not a police officer, I'm not investigating the crimes. What I have done, though, is I have actually sent a letter to Director Wray and to Attorney General Garland asking for a deeper investigation into crimes that involve Asian-Americans to see how many crimes have actually been underreported as hate crimes."
"We know that crimes against Asian-Americans that have been categorized as hate crimes have increased by over 150% in our nation's major cities," Duckworth continued. "That's over 3,800 additional crimes last year. But we also know that many of these crimes go underreported as hate crimes and are just classified as a mugging, or harassment or vandalism when really they were targeted at Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in particular."
Asian women in particular have been "commoditized and "over-sexualized," Duckworth said. As hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased over the last year, two-thirds of the victims have been Asian-American women, she said.
The suspect in the spa shootings, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, is in custody and has been charged with eight counts of murder on Wednesday. Police have said the suspect denied the killings were racially motivated. Instead, police said Long told investigators he had a "sexual addiction" and viewed the spas as a temptation he wanted to eliminate.