Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, whose wife, Yumi, was born in South Korea, said Wednesday he’s “horrified” by the Atlanta-area killings of eight people, many of them Asian women.
“We are horrified by the appalling violence committed in Georgia, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims,” Hogan posted on his social media accounts. “This is an unspeakable tragedy, and the latest in a series of attacks against Asian Americans. Violence and bigotry have no place in our society.”
According to authorities, eight people were killed in a series of shootings over the course of an hour Tuesday at three Atlanta-area massage parlors.
Police arrested and charged a 21-year-old white Georgia man and said the motive wasn’t immediately known, though many of the victims were women of Asian descent. The suspect told police the attack was not racially motivated, claiming to have a “sex addiction” and apparently he lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation.
“My wife, my three daughters, my grandkids, all Asian, and they — they have felt some discrimination personally,” Hogan said on “State of the Union.”
“We feel it personally with my daughter, who sort of is sometimes afraid to come visit us, with people who had best friends that were being harassed at the grocery store, or being called names, and people yelling about ‘the China virus,’ even though they’re from Korea and born in America,” he added.
The coronavirus was first identified in China, and former Republican president Donald Trump and others have used terms like “Chinese virus” to describe it.
Yumi Hogan came to the United States at age 20 with her then-husband. Yumi, an artist, and the future Republican governor met in 2001 and married in 2003. Yumi Hogan had three daughters with her first husband, and they refer to Larry Hogan as their dad.
The Maryland Senate adjourned its session Wednesday “in memory of those who lost their lives in Georgia last night.”
Sen. Susan Lee, who previously chaired the General Assembly’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, said the past year has been “really awful” for Asian Americans in Maryland and across the nation. She noted Trump’s use of racist slurs for the coronavirus and said that has emboldened people to discriminate against Asians.
Lee noted attacks across the nation, including Montgomery County, where she lives. One Asian American family’s home in Rockville was torched twice and a woman was rescued from an assault in Bethesda by bystanders, she said.
“Unfortunately, the past toxic political rhetoric, disparaging statements against immigrants, Asian Americans, people of color, women and people of all backgrounds have contributed to this violence,” said Lee, a Democrat.
The Associated Press and Baltimore Sun reporter Bryn Stole contributed to this article.