The Slatest

Latino Man Who Escaped Atlanta Spa Shooting Handcuffed for Two Hours While Wife Died Inside

Jesus Estrella holds a "Stop Asian Hate" sign next to a person holding a sign with names of the victims
Jesus Estrella outside Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia, on Wednesday. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

When Mario González and his wife, Delaina Ashley Yaun, went to Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia, on Tuesday, it was supposed to be a relaxing treat. “She wanted a day just her and her husband, spend a little time together, all she wanted was their massages,” Yaun’s mother, Margaret Rushing, said. But when they were both nearing the end of their massages in separate rooms of the spa, González suddenly heard gunfire. “I couldn’t see anything, I only started thinking that it was in the room my wife was in,” González said in an interview with Mundo Hispánico. He managed to escape, but rather than receiving sympathy and help from law enforcement officers, González was immediately treated as a suspect. He was handcuffed and was only told hours later that his wife had died. She was one of eight people shot dead by alleged gunman Robert Aaron Long.

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González’s niece, Jessica González, told the Daily Mail that her uncle “was in the handcuffs for like two hours” because law enforcement thought he could have been the shooter. González is now angry about the way he was treated. “They knew I was her husband,” he said, but police only told her she was dead hours later. “Maybe it’s because I’m Mexican, I don’t know, because the real truth is that they treated me poorly,” he said before showing the scars that the handcuffs had left on his wrists.

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González’s niece describes a scene of desperation outside the massage parlor, and law enforcement officers seemingly ignored her uncle’s pleas for information. “He kept asking, ‘Where’s my wife? Where’s my wife?’ and nobody would give him an answer,” the niece said. “He didn’t get any answers until a couple hours later.” Others tried to tell the officers that González wasn’t lying about his identity, but the cops didn’t seem to care. Someone who worked next door even recognized Mario González. “I know” is all a police officer said when he was told that González’s wife was inside.

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Amid the heartbreak about losing his wife, González is also contending with the mistreatment that he believes was racially motivated. “He’s very upset and angry about that,” Jessica González said. “He was handcuffed for something he didn’t do. I think it was a racial thing. He was the only one left in handcuffs.” Yaun and González have an 8-month-old daughter, and they both cared for her 13-year-old son from a previous relationship. “She had a heart of gold. She would do anything for anybody, give her shirt off her back for anyone,” Yaun’s sister, Amy Cinkaj, said.

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