A man shot and killed two women at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, FL on Friday night. The victims were identified as Maura Binkley, 21, a student at Florida State University and Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a faculty member at FSU’s medical school and chief medical director for Tallahassee's Capital Health Plan, reported CNN. Five people were injured, including one victim who was pistol-whipped.
“There are no words to express the shock and grief we feel after learning of the deaths of Maura Binkley and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem,” John Thrasher, Florida State University president, tweeted. “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.”
The two women who were killed, and the five injured people, may have attempted to subdue the shooter. “There were indications that several people not only fought back but tried to save other people,” said Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo, according to Reuters.
The gunman, identified as Scott Paul Beierle, 40, killed himself before responding police officers arrived at the scene. In addition to his previous police record for harassing women, Beierle had a history of posting misogynist and racist content online, reported Buzzfeed News. YouTube videos, purportedly recorded by Beierle, in which he rails against women and people of colour, and identified with violent “incel” (involuntary celibate) ideology. “There are whores in — not only every city, not only every town but every village,” he said in one video. Beierle also voiced his frustration that the Affordable Care Act included coverage for contraception, saying that he was offended at his taxes going towards “the casual sex lives of slutty girls.”
Buzzfeed News also found Beirele’s SoundCloud page, which included songs with lyrics like “I’m no athletic shark/ I’m not a physical specimen/ I don’t win the trophies and medals/ Nobody stands in awe of me.” These lyrics fit in squarely with incel talking points, many of which lament physical looks as compared to a rigidly-defined standard, and how they view women as owing them attention and sex.
The shooting in Tallahassee comes after a particularly violent two weeks of hate-fuelled crime in America. A mass shooting in Pittsburgh killed 11 Jewish congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue. Two black people were killed in a Kroger by a white gunman in Jeffersontown, KY. And numerous crudely-constructed (but functional) pipe bombs were mailed to critics of U.S. President Donald Trump, including former U.S. President Barack Obama and the offices of CNN.