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Biden orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Atlanta shooting victims

An American flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, March 18, 2021. U.S. President Joe Biden ordered national flags to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the shootings in the Atlanta area that killed eight people. Photographer: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(CNN) — President Joe Biden has ordered the American flags at the White House and on other federal ground be flown at half-staff as “a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence” in Atlanta this week.

The shooting rampage on Tuesday took place at three different Atlanta-area spas — one in Cherokee County and two across the street from one another within the city — and left eight people dead, six of whom were of Asian women, while another person was wounded. Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged in the shootings.

Yesterday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris expressed concerns about any violence against Asian Americans, with the President calling the shootings “very troubling.”

In her most formal remarks about the ongoing issue of violence against the Asian American community, Harris — the first person of South Asian descent to hold her office — said the shooting also spoke to the “larger issue” of violence.

Harris, who has previously spoken about the racism she and her family members in this country have faced, also called the shooting “tragic.”

Biden and Harris are expected to visit Atlanta on Friday. The previously-planned portion of the trip touting the Covid relief bill has been postponed. Instead, they will meet with Asian American leaders and visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per the White House.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are holding a hearing Thursday on violence and discrimination against the Asian American community with four Asian American female lawmakers testifying.