Maura Binkley was a 21-year-old student at Florida State University remembered for her kind and loving nature. She had recently returned from a study abroad trip for the university, where she was studying English and German.
On November 2, 2018, Binkley and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, became the latest to die in an American mass shooting. The two women were among seven wounded – six from gunshots and one person who was pistol whipped. The shooter died at the scene. Some class members fought back but were not able to save the two women’s lives. Police released the victims’ names as Maura Binkley and Nancy Van Vessem. You can read a separate tribute to Dr. Van Vessem here.
Dr. Van Vessem was a faculty member at Florida State. FSU president John Thrasher said in a statement: “To lose one of our students and one of our faculty members in this tragic and violent way is just devastating to the Florida State University family.”
Tributes to both women flooded into social media.
Here’s what you need to know:
Maura Binkley Was in a Sorority & Hailed From Atlanta
Maura Binkley was a student at Florida State University, according to her Facebook page. Binkley was from Atlanta, Georgia and was a graduate of Dunwoody High School.
One woman wrote on Twitter that Maura was in a sorority at FSU. “How angry am I over yet another horrifying shooting? VERY! My daughter’s best friend is a sorority sister of 1 of the victims, 21 yr old Maura Binkley. The other fatality was an FSU professor, 61 yr old Nancy Van Vessem. The lunatic shooter had prior arrests for assaulting women,” she wrote.
Terry Nall, a Dunwoody city councilman wrote, “#Dunwoody grieves the tragic loss of Maura Binkley. She was full of life and in the @DunwoodyHS graduating class with my daughter. Our prayers are lifted up for her family.”
Friends Remembered Maura Binkley as Kind & a Discussion Leader in Class
Tributes on social media described Maura Binkley’s warm personality.
Santina Deming wrote on Facebook, “The victims names have been released from the shooting in Tallahassee on Friday evening. One of the victims, Maura Binkley, was in one of my classes at FSU this semester. I had just talked to her on Thursday. She was very sweet and kind to everyone in class. She was an integral part of the class and lead the class discussion most days.”
Courtney Bohn also wrote a tribute to Maura Binkley on Facebook, writing, “Maura Binkley was an incredibly kind, loving, and giving person who did not deserve to die in such a senseless act of violence. I cannot begin to explain the heaviness and heart break I am feeling, but I send all of my love to my Tri Delta family and Maura Binkley’s family as well as all other people and families involved. Rest In Peace you beautiful, beautiful soul❤️❤️”
Maura Binkley Had Just Returned From Study Abroad & Was an English/German Double Major
A 2018 article published by Florida State University indicated that Maura Binkley was part of the study abroad program.
“Senior Maura Binkley also participated in the FSU Summer Global Exchange this summer, earning FSU credits at the University of Wuppertal in Germany. Binkley, an English and German double major from Atlanta, spent her summer break studying with local German students and traveling to destinations such as Berlin and Amsterdam,” the article says.
“It can be really scary at first knowing that you are going to spend a semester far away from home in a place with all new people and a different language, but in the end, the experience is so rewarding and makes the world seem so small,” Binkley said, according to the article.
“Yes, there are times where you get lost or get confused in situations due to cultural differences, but times like those turn into big teaching moments and make you grow a lot. I’ve learned more and made so many more valuable friendships than I ever thought I would in just four months.”
Nancy Van Vessem Was a Specialist in Internal Medicine Who Taught at Florida State
Dr. Nancy Van Vessem worked as an internal medicine specialist at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Her biography on the hospital’s website says that she was a 1983 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Medical School and had a 1984 internship at University of Utah Medical Center. She also had a B.S. in Chemistry, Pacific Lutheran University, Summa Cum Laude.
Two hospitals were listed for her residency: 1986, Loyola University Medical Center and 1985, University of Utah Medical Center.
She taught medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine. Her biography on that website reads, “Dr. Van Vessem is responsible for coordinating the third and fourth year clerkship rotations in Internal Medicine at the Tallahasseee Campus.” The bio adds, “Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer of Capital Health Plan Special interest in Chronic Disease Management and Wellness promotion.”
Under service, the university listed, “Tallahassee Wellness Council, Stepping Toward Health, Leadership team member for Pursuing Perfection 2-Acute Cornary Syndrome and Pursing Perfection 3 –improving communication between outpatient and inpatient setting for people with multiple chronic diseases (Robert Wood Foundation grant).”
Marie Bailey wrote on Twitter, “Dr. Van Vessem was my primary doctor from 1994 to 2001. I mourn her senseless, premature, violent death and that of Maura Binkley. I ask, for the millionth time, when will this STOP?!”
Yolonda Lawyer-Mutch offered a tribute on Facebook, writing, “It’s going to be so hard returning to work on Monday and not seeing her smiling face and hearing her say good morning. Heaven has truly gained an angel. R.I.H. Dr. Nancy Van Vessem.”
What Police Say Happened
Tallahassee Police gave these details of how the shooting unfolded:
On November 2, 2018 at 5:37 p.m., the Tallahassee Police Department responded to ‘Hot Yoga,’ 1950 Thomasville Road reference to a shooting. “Upon arriving on scene officers found multiple people suffering from gunshots wounds. TPD and Emergency responders immediately provided medical attention to the victims, who were later transported to a local hospital with non-life threat(en)ing, and life threat(en)ing injuries. The shooter was found deceased on scene, suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
The shooter was named by Tallahassee police as Scott Paul Beierle DOB: 10/06/1978. You can read more about Scott Beierle here. He was a former Army veteran and high school English teacher, per LinkedIn.
TPD’s Violent Crimes Unit “was called to the scene and have assumed the investigation. A total of seven victims have been identified: six gunshot victims, and one pistol whipped victim. Sadly, two of the gunshot victims have succumbed to their injuries. Two victims are in stable condition, and three have been released from a local hospital,” said police.
TPD has “interviewed over 40 witnesses, and summoned Victim Advocates to assist those dealing with this senseless act of violence,” said the police in a news release, adding, “The motive of this shooting is still unknown. Investigators are asking anyone with information about this case to please call them at (850) 891-4200 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS. This is currently an active investigation.”