The Georgia sheriff’s captain who stoked furor by saying the Atlanta spa shooter had a “bad day” when he allegedly went on a killing rampage has been booted off the case, officials said.
Capt. Jay Baker will no longer serve as spokesman on the case following the controversial comments he made Wednesday, a day after Robert Aaron Long allegedly gunned down eight people — including six Asian women — at Atlanta-area massage parlors, WSB-TV reported.
The network said the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, where Baker serves as communications director, is also evaluating his future with the department.
After the massacre, Baker told reporters Long was trying to “eliminate” a sexual “temptation” by opening fire at the three spas and massage parlors.
“He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did,” he told reporters at the time.
Baker, who has served in law enforcement for 28 years, also reportedly posted a photo on Facebook that blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on China. The post has since been deleted.
Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds on Thursday issued an apology for Baker’s “insensitive” and “inappropriate” comments, saying the flack did not mean to disrespect the victims or “express empathy or sympathy for the suspect.”
Reynolds spoke with WSB-TV, saying Baker used a “poor choice of words” and calling his Facebook post “unfortunate.”
“That’s where we have to look at Jay’s future at the sheriff’s office and what it looks like,” he told the network. “We haven’t made that determination yet.”