Biden orders flags lowered to honor victims of Atlanta shooting
President Biden on Thursday ordered flags outside the White House and other public buildings and military posts be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the Atlanta-area shooting that left eight people dead.
The proclamation directs flags remain lowered until Monday evening, and also applies to U.S. embassies and other facilities overseas.
Police are investigating shootings that took place at three massage parlors in and around Atlanta late Tuesday that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women.
Authorities have yet to determine whether the shootings will be labeled a hate crime. Still, the killings renewed conversation around how Asian Americans have been targeted with violence and discrimination amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden and Vice President Harris were previously scheduled to travel to Atlanta on Friday to tout the $1.9 trillion economic relief package recently signed into law. In light of the shooting, the two will meet with Asian American leaders to express support for the community.
In his first remarks addressing the violence on Wednesday, Biden acknowledged concerns about the broader uptick in attacks on the Asian American community, but he said he would wait to assign a motive to the shooter until the investigation is complete.
“Whatever the motivation here I know that Asian Americans are very concerned, because as you know, I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian Americans for the last couple months and I think it is very, very troublesome,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.
NBC News reported this week that there were nearly 3,800 incidents of bias against Asian Americans reported over the past 12 months.