ATLANTA (AP) – A Georgia sheriff’s office captain has been replaced as the spokesman in the investigation into the recent massage business slayings after the spokesman drew widespread outrage for saying the suspect in the killings had had a “really bad day.”
Cherokee County Communications Director Erika Neldner announced in a statement Thursday that she will be handling media inquiries related to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into Tuesday’s slayings.
The statement did not give details about the status of Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker, who was criticized for saying during a news conference Wednesday that the 21-year-old suspect had had “a really bad day” and “this is what he did.”
Authorities have charged Robert Aaron Long with eight counts of murder for the slayings, four of which occurred at a massage parlor in Cherokee County. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
Earlier Thursday, Sheriff Frank Reynolds issued a statement acknowledging that some of Baker’s comments stirred “much debate and anger” and said the agency regrets any “heartache” caused by his words.
Some activists had called for Baker to be fired over both his comments and the discovery of a 2020 Facebook post that Baker appeared to have written to promote a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus. Neither Reynolds nor Baker has commented on the post, which was taken down Wednesday night.