Gunman in Yoga Studio Shooting Recorded Racist, Misogynistic Videos in 2014


Gunman in Yoga Studio Shooting Recorded Racist, Misogynistic Videos in 2014

The police in Tallahassee, Fla., said Scott Beierle, 40, shot and killed two women at a yoga studio on Friday before shooting and killing himself.CreditCreditTori Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat, via Associated Press

The 40-year-old man who police said shot and killed two women at a Florida yoga studio on Friday spewed racist and misogynistic vitriol in YouTube videos posted in 2014, lamenting his inability to have successful relationships with women.

The gunman, Scott P. Beierle of Deltona, Fla., fatally shot himself and injured five others after he entered the yoga studio in Tallahassee, Fla., shortly after 5:30 p.m. and began shooting patrons with a handgun, the police said.

The two women who died were both connected to Florida State University, where Mr. Beierle had been arrested at least twice in the past, one time on charges of battery against women, records show.

In videos posted over a three-day period in August 2014, Mr. Beierle identified with “involuntary celibates,” railed against interracial dating and portrayed women and girls throughout his life as vindictive for refusing to go out with him.

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

Mr. Beierle said in one of his videos that, as an adolescent, he had understood “this endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration.”

Mr. Beierle told personal stories of rejection, going so far as to name 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.”

Among his videos were diatribes about what he called the “Plight of the Adolescent Male” and the “Dangers of Diversity.” In another video, he castigates girls for not understanding what it’s like for adolescent males to deal with the expectations of sex and dating.

“I don’t think a female can ever understand the societal pressure that’s put on an adolescent male to unburden himself of this stigma that society’s put on him,” he said. “This virginity burden.”

BuzzFeed News first reported on the videos.

On Friday, when Mr. Beierle began shooting inside the studio, Hot Yoga Tallahassee, some inside fought back against him, preventing a greater tragedy, Michael DeLeo, the chief of the Tallahassee Police Department, said in a statement on Saturday.

Officials identified the victims who were shot and killed as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21. Three of those injured had been released from the hospital as of Saturday morning. The other two were in stable condition, the police said. Four of the injured victims were women, and one was a man.

John Thrasher, the president of Florida State University, said on Twitter on Saturday that Ms. Binkley was a student at the university and Dr. Van Vessem was a faculty member. A profile on the university’s website said Dr. Van Vessem was responsible for coordinating the third- and fourth-year clerkship rotations in internal medicine at the Tallahassee campus.

Pam Irwin, the executive director of Capital Medical Society, of which Dr. Van Vessem was a member, said that she was a personal friend who was known as an advocate for others.

“She was an outstanding physician with a passion for access to health care,” Ms. Irwin said. “Without being aware, she was a mentor. She represented how to serve others with wisdom, ethics, compassion and collaboration.”

Ms. Binkley, a senior, was set to graduate in May, said Azalee Vereen, her aunt. Ms. Binkley was majoring in journalism and German, and was preparing for life after college by applying for programs like Fulbright and Teach for America.

Ms. Binkley, who grew up in a northern suburb of Atlanta, was “very smart, very beautiful and just very giving,” Ms. Vereen said.

Chief DeLeo said Mr. Beierle was a graduate of Florida State University and had been staying at a local hotel leading up to the shooting. Investigators are still trying to determine a connection between the gunman and the victims or the studio, the chief said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on Saturday at Mr. Beierle’s home, and multiple search warrants were secured for his electronic devices and social media profiles.

Records in Leon County, Fla., show that Mr. Beierle moved from Vestal, N.Y., near Binghamton, to Tallahassee in 2011.

Court records show that Mr. Beierle was charged in December 2012 with battery after a woman accused him of grabbing her buttocks at a dining hall on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee. The charges were dismissed in May 2013.

In 2014, Mr. Beierle was charged with trespassing at a dining hall on campus and was given some sort of pretrial intervention, though it was unclear on Saturday exactly what that entailed or how the case was resolved.

In June 2016, Mr. Beierle was again charged with battery, but the charge was dismissed in 2017.

According to the local television station , the 2016 arrest happened after Mr. Beierle was accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks at his apartment complex. Court records said he asked a woman who was sunbathing if he could rub sunscreen on her buttocks, and he grabbed them after she said no, the station reported.

A lawyer whose firm represented Mr. Beierle in the 2012 and 2016 cases, Don Pumphrey Jr., declined to comment on those cases Saturday. “Our hearts go out to the families,” he said.

Jack Campbell, a Florida state attorney, declined to comment on the cases and referred questions to the Tallahassee Police Department, which did not respond to questions on Saturday.

Pictures posted to a Facebook profile for Mr. Beierle show him posing with a cutout of Ronald Reagan. Other pictures show Mr. Beierle in a United States Army uniform.

On a LinkedIn profile, Scott Beierle said he was a deputy director for supply and logistics for the Army from 2008 to 2010. He said he distributed military resources, and also served as a “senior field artillery officer.”

An Army spokesman said he was seeking to verify Mr. Beierle’s service record.

Ashley Calloway-Blatch and Jacey Fortin contributed reporting.

Follow Mihir Zaveri on Twitter: @MihirZaveri.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A29 of the New York edition with the headline: Yoga Studio Gunman Faced Charges of Battering Women. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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