Gunman in Florida Yoga Studio Shooting Recorded Misogynistic, Racist Videos and Had a History of Harassing Women

Scott Paul Beierle
Tallahassee Police Department

In online videos, he spewed misogynistic and racist vitriol — and railed against all the women who had turned him down.

In real life, records show, he had a history of harassing women and was accused of touching women’s buttocks without their consent.

And on Friday, the authorities said, he shot two women to death and injured five other people at a Florida yoga studio before killing himself.

The gunman, Scott P. Beierle, 40, posed as a customer at the studio in Tallahassee, Fla., and then opened fire without warning, the police said. The authorities were investigating to determine Mr. Beierle’s connection to the yoga studio and the victims.

Officials identified the victims who were killed as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a faculty member at Florida State University, and Maura Binkley, 21, a student there. Four women and one man suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“There are no words to express the shock and grief we feel,” John Thrasher, the president of Florida State, said on Twitter on Saturday. He added, “To lose one of our students and one of our faculty members in this tragic and violent way is just devastating to the FSU family.”

Mr. Beierle, who the authorities said had prior military service, lived in Deltona, Fla., and had been staying at a hotel while visiting Tallahassee, the police said. He was a graduate of Florida State, where he had been arrested at least twice, once on charges of battery against women, according to records and the police.

He also had a history of expressing misogynistic and racist views. In a series of videos posted over a three-day period in August 2014, he ranted against women and minorities, the police and the Army — anyone and everyone who he believed had wronged him.

BuzzFeed News first reported on the videos.

In the videos, Mr. Beierle pontificated from a dimly lit bedroom, with an unmade bed and a pile of cardboard boxes in the background. He lamented his inability to connect with other people — from Army comrades who he said would not travel with him while stationed in Europe to women who refused to go out with him.

He identified with “involuntary celibates” and told personal stories of rejection, naming multiple girls who he said had wronged him.

“Made one date, didn’t show up,” he said of one woman. “Made another date, didn’t show up. Kept making excuses. Ah, I could’ve ripped her head off.”

He expressed sympathy with Elliot O. Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., three months before Mr. Beierle recorded the videos. Mr. Rodger had expressed his disgust at women online and urged “incels” — shorthand for involuntary celibates — to fight back.

In the videos, Mr. Beierle also railed against interracial dating, and used racist and disparaging language when talking about black people.

He also referred to trouble with the Army after an incident in Amsterdam in which he said four women complained about his behavior. “I got too rowdy for their sensibilities,” he said.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Mihir Zaveri, Julia Jacobs and Sarah Mervosh