Shooter, 2 Killed In Yoga Studio Attack Have Been Identified - NBC10 Boston
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Shooter, 2 Killed In Yoga Studio Attack Have Been Identified

"We just heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow,'" one witness said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shooter, Victims Identified In Yoga Class Shooting

    The shooter and victims have been identified in a yoga class shooting that took place Friday night in Tallahassee. NBC6 Reporter Arlene Borenstein has the story.

    (Published Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018)

    A gunman killed two people and wounded five others at a yoga studio in Florida's capital before killing himself Friday evening, officials said.

    Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters Friday night that the man shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the studio, which is part of a small Tallahassee shopping center.

    The suspect then fatally shot himself, DeLeo said. 

    Authorities have identified the shooter at a yoga studio in Tallahassee and the two people he killed, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

    The Tallahassee Police Department has identified the shooter as Scott Paul Beierle, 40, the newspaper reports.

    The department identified the two people who were killed as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, the Democrat reports.

    The newspaper says that Van Vessem was internist who served as chief medical director for Capital Health Plan.

    Capital Health Plan issued a statement praising Van Vessem, the Democrat reported.

    "As CHP's longtime chief medical director, Nancy has been a guiding, visionary force in our daily work to serve the wellness and health care needs of thousands of families in this community. Her dedication, caring, leadership, humanity, and experience made her one of the most respected, inspiring, and accomplished medical professionals in the state and country. Our hearts are filled with sorrow and prayers for her family. We all have been so blessed to have Nancy in our lives," the company said.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher says Van Vessem and Binkley had ties to the university.

    "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. We feel this loss profoundly and we send our deepest sympathies to Maura's and Nancy's loved ones while we pray for the recovery of those who were injured," Thrasher said in a statement.

    DeLeo said police are asking for anyone who saw something unusual around the time of the shooting to contact police. He said the shooter acted alone and authorities are investigating possible motives. He declined to say what kind of gun the shooter had.

    "We're all very saddened and shocked by the events that occurred, but it's important that people understand that there is no immediate threat outside of what has already occurred this evening," DeLeo said.

    Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a "profusely" bleeding man who rushed into a bar after the incident. She said three people from the studio ran in, and they were told there was an active shooter.

    "It was a shocking moment something happened like this," Hutchinson said.

    The people who came in were injured, including the bleeding man who was pistol-whipped while trying to stop the shooter. They told her the shooter kept coming in and out of the studio. When he loaded his gun, people started pounding the windows of the studio to warn people.

    City Commissioner Scott Maddox was on the scene. He said on Facebook, "In my public service career I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray."

    Elle Welling said she was leaving a liquor store across the street from the shopping center and saw at least three people loaded into ambulances.

    "You don't think about this in Tallahassee and now you have to," said Welling, 26, who lives in the neighborhood.

    The plaza is home to popular restaurants, a jewelry store, a framing shop, a hair salon and other businesses.

    Erskin Wesson, 64, said he was eating dinner with his family at a restaurant located below the yoga studio when they heard the gunshots above them.

    "We just heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow,'" Wesson said. "It sounded like a limb falling on a tin roof and rolling."

    The restaurant's owner came by a short time later, asking if anyone was a doctor, Wesson said. His step-daughter is an emergency room nurse and helped paramedics for about an hour, he said.

    Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, tweeted that he's breaking off the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. He earlier appeared at a campaign event with former President Barack Obama.

    "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 tweeted.

    Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, called DeLeo and the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to get details of the shooting.

    "I will remain in constant communication with law enforcement. We have offered state assistance," Scott tweeted.

    Tallahassee's crime and murder rate has been an issue in the governor's race, with Gillum's opponent, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, calling the capital Florida's most crime-ridden city, a claim that is incorrect.