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Two slain in Tallahassee shooting had ties to Florida State

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By Allen Cone, UPI

A Florida State University faculty member and a student were the two individuals killing in a shooting at a Tallahassee yoga studio, in which the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

At 5:37 p.m. Friday, Tallahassee police responded to the shooting at Hot Yoga on the second floor of a shopping complex, according to a press release. The Tallahassee Democrat reported 11 people signed up for the 5:30 p.m. hot yoga flow class and one canceled earlier in the day. The class instructor is said to have been uninjured.

Emergency workers transported seven victims -- six shot and one pistol-whipped -- to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital. Two died at the hospital and two were in stabled condition and three later release.

The Tallahassee Police Department identified the shooter as Scott Paul Beierle, 40, of Deltona, which is 275 miles southeast of Tallahassee.

The two fatalities were identified as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21.

"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," Florida State University President John Thrasher said in a statement on Twitter. "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."

Van Vessem was an internist who served as chief medical director for Capital Health Plan. She was responsible for coordinating the third- and fourth-year clerkship rotations in internal medicine at FSU's Tallahassee campus, according to the university's directory.

Binkley, a senior with an English and German double major, was from Dunwoody, a suburb of Georgia, according to the Miami Herald.

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

Officer Damon Miller, a spokesman for TPD, said Saturday that Beierle posed as a customer inside the Tallahassee studio before opening fire with a handgun without any warning. And he said investigators are still trying to determine if he had any connection to the victims or the business.

In all, the police department interviewed 40 witnesses.

Prosecutors had previously dropped two charges against Bierle.

In 2012, he was charged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly grabbing the buttocks of two women at Florida State University, according to Leon County court records.

In 2016, he was arrested again on a battery charge after allegedly slapping and grabbing another women's rear end by the swimming pool at an apartment complex where he lived.

Mayor Andrew Gillum returned to Tallahassee on Friday night after campaigning for governor in South Florida.

"I'm deeply appreciative of law enforcement's quick response to the shooting at the yoga facility in Tallahassee today," he posted on Twitter. No act of gun violence is acceptable. I'm in close communication with law enforcement officials and will be returning to Tallahassee tonight."

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Two slain in Tallahassee shooting had ties to Florida State
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