On Friday night, an armed 40-year-old man opened fire on a Tallahassee yoga studio, killing two and injuring five others before turning the gun on himself. Now, the Tallahassee Democrat reports the shooter, Scott Paul Beierle, has a history of groping women:
“Scott Paul Beierle, 40, was arrested in 2012 on a charge of misdemeanor battery after allegedly grabbing the buttocks of two women on the campus of Florida State University, according to Leon County court records. He was arrested again in 2016 on a battery charge after allegedly slapping and grabbing another women’s rear end by the swimming pool at the West Tennessee Street apartment complex where he lived.”
The first incident occurred in the Suwannee Room, a Florida State University dining hall. Both of the women Beierle assaulted reported the incident to police and indicated that they would like to press charges, though prosecutors later dismissed those charges:
“‘Victim #1 stated she was at the soda fountain when she felt someone grab her buttocks,” the police report says. “She thought it may have been her boyfriend at first, and (when) she turned around she identified the male as Beierle.
“Victim #2 stated she saw Beierle grab victim #2 and wanted to make sure she saw what she saw. Victim #2 stated the same person has (grabbed) her on the buttocks on three separate occasions over the last month.’”
Beierle opened fire on the Hot Yoga Studio, located in a midtown Tallahassee shopping center, and shot six people, then pistol-whipped another before attendees of the class stopped him from injuring other patrons. Authorities believe he then killed himself.
The two women who were killed, Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, were both involved with FSU. Dr. Van Vessem was an internist and faculty member at the medical school who also worked for Tallahassee’s Capital Health Plan as chief medical director, while Binkley was a student.
Though Tallahassee police chief Michael DeLeo has said there’s no connection between the Beierle and his victims, in early reports, city spokesman Jamie Van Pelt said the shooting appeared to be part of a “domestic dispute.”
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who’s currently locked in a tight gubernatorial race with Republican Ron DeSantis, tweeted on Friday night that he would be leaving the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee.
Update, 4:06 p.m.: Buzzfeed reports that Beierle “was a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist who railed against women, black people, and immigrants in a series of online videos and songs.”