Scott Paul Beierle shot-and-killed two people and wounded multiple others before killing himself in a horrific attack on a Florida yoga studio. The shooting occurred at Tallahassee Hot Yoga studio in the Betton Hills complex on Bradford Road in Florida’s capital city at around 5:00 p.m. on November 2. The two deceased people have been named as Maura Binkley, 21, and Nancy Van Vessem, 61, according to a statement from the Tallahassee City Government. In total, three people, including Beierle, were killed, four others were wounded and another man was injured after being pistol whipped. Officials said that one victim is in critical condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, three people are in serious condition and two are in good condition.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told the media that officers were called to the studio at 5:37 p.m. Inside of the studio, officers found multiple people injured with gunshot wounds. One of those victims was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Beierle, 40, was found dead in the studio. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. There is no further threat to the community. Authorities said that Beierle pretended to be a customer in order to gain access to the studio.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Beierle Was a U.S. Army Veteran & High School English Teacher
According to Beierle’s LinkedIn page, he worked as a high school English teacher between 2005 and 2007. Between 2008 and 2010, Beierle says he served as a deputy director in supply and logistics for the U.S. Army. Beierle says that his role in the army included procuring new technology in night vision goggles and fire support equipment. Posts on Beierle’s Facebook page from 2012 show him at the U.S. Military base in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Beierle writes that since 2013, he has been a “Job Seeker.” In 1997, Beierle says he graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government. From there, Beierle graduated from Florida State University with a Master’s in Public Administration and Planning as part of the class of 2013. Beierle was a member of two groups on his Facebook page, FSU College Republicans and We Are Conservatives. Despite this, Beierle was not registered with any political party At the time of the shooting, Beierle was living in Deltona, Florida. Online records show that Beierle had a 2014 arrest for trespassing.
2. Beierle Was a Self-Proclaimed Misogynist Who Ranted About Women He Went to High School With as Well as Immigrants & Mixed-Race Couples
In 2014, Beierle uploaded a series of videos in which he proclaimed himself to be a misogynist. Beierle also ranted about immigrants, black people, women he went to high school with as well as mixed race couples. Beierle went by the moniker Scott Carnifex on his YouTube channel. Beierle’s YouTube channel was first identified in a report from Buzzfeed.
In other videos, Beierly rants about the “collectively treachery” of the girls in his high school. Beierly says at one point, “There are whores in – not only every city, not only every town, but every village.” He argued that women who were in mixed-race relationships had betrayed “their blood.” In another video, “The Rebirth of Misogynism,” Beierly lists the names of women he knows, including females he knew in the Army, with whom he held a grudge against.
3. Beierle Was Arrested in 2012 & 2016 for Grabbing Women’s Rear Ends
The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Beierle has been arrested in the past, accused of grabbing women. The gunman was charged with misdemeanor battery after he was accused of grabbing the buttocks of two women at Florida State University. In 2016, he faced a similar when he was accused of slapping a woman’s buttocks at the swimming pool of the apartment where he lived. WCTV reports that in the pool incident, Beierle asked a woman if he could rub sunscreen on her buttocks. When she refused, he grabbed her rear end. The charges were dropped in both cases.
In the 2012 incident, two women were at a soda fountain in a dining hall when one woman felt a man, who she thought was her boyfriend, grab her buttocks. The other woman told officers that she felt Beierle wanted her to see him do the inappropriate touch. That other woman told police that Beierle had grabbed her buttocks three times in the previous month.
4. There Were 11 People Signed Up for the Studio’s 5:30 p.m. Class
The Tallahassee Democrat reports that 11 people were signed up for the yoga studio’s 5:30 p.m. class. The instructor of the class was unharmed in the shooting. A woman who was eating at a nearby restaurant told the Democrat, “We heard pop, pop, pop. It sounded intense. The gun shot six or seven times. I saw five different ambulances picking people up. It’s scary it’s so close to home.” The Democrat’s report adds that the two instructors from the studio could be seen across the street from where emergency responders were working while “tears poured down their faces. They were not ready to talk.”
Florida State Representative Kristin Jacobs was a witness to the student, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. Jacobs represents Broward County, an area that includes Parkland. On February 14, 2018, 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Jacobs’ district. Jacobs told the Democrat, “One of the first things I heard is there was a shooting. That was in my head when a girl ran into the bar. She could hardly talk. She was hyperventilating. I heard her say shooter. Two other women came in, and I kept hearing the word ‘Shooter’. The girl at the bar says everyone come this way, but everything inside me just says find the exit and bolt.” Jacobs went on to talk about how she had just undergone an active shooter training scenario. Jacobs said that she was thinking about ways to stop the shooter if she encountered him, thankfully that did not happen.
A witness told the Tallahassee Democrat that she ran downstairs from the studio into Bar at Betton, a pub directly underneath the yoga studio. That witness described Beierle as a man who was “acting strange and began during the class.” Another witness who ran downstairs said he was pistol-whipped when he tried to stop the gunman.
Dr. Nancy Van Vessem was an internal medicine specialist at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Her bio on the hospital’s website says that Dr. Van Vessem was a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the Utah Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Van Vessem also taught internal medicine at Florida State University.
5. Hot Yoga Tallahassee Is Owned by Brittani Whittington
Hot Yoga Tallahassee is owned and operated by Brittani Whittington. According to a Facebook post, Whittington opened the studio in October 2010. Whittington writes on her page that she is originally from Apopka, Florida, and now lives in Tallahassee. Whittington is a graduate of Florida State University. The studio’s website emphasizes an “abundance of positive energy & support” that can be found at Hot Yoga Tallahassee.
One attendee of Whittington’s classes wrote on Facebook in the wake of the shooting, “I love you Brittani Whittington and Hot Yoga Tallahassee ❤️ forever my home.” While another wrote, “I was not at Hot Yoga Tallahasssee tonight, but thanks to those who asked. My schedule doesn’t allow me to go as often as I would like, but my class of choice was Friday night hot yoga. Please pray for those who were shot, and for this community and this world. And for studio owner Brittani Whittington. She is all goodness, and I just don’t understand such evil.”
As news broke about the shooting, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum tweeted, “I’m deeply appreciative of law enforcement’s quick response to the shooting at the yoga facility in Tallahassee today. No act of gun violence is acceptable. I’m in close communication with law enforcement officials and will be returning to Tallahassee tonight.” Gillum is on the campaign trail in Miami ahead of Florida’s gubernatorial election on November 6. While City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who was on scene at the studio in the aftermath of the shooting, wrote on Facebook, “In my public service career, I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray.” Gillum’s Republican rival, Ron DeSantis, tweeted, “The news of the shooting in Tallahassee is heartbreaking. Casey and I are praying for the families of the victim whose life was tragically taken tonight and those taken to the hospital with injuries.”