‘Creepy’ Florida Yoga Studio Shooter Had Long History Of Disturbing Behavior
The gunman was arrested for groping women and recently fired from his teaching job for inappropriately touching a student.
TALLAHASSEE, FL — The gunman who fatally shot two people and injured five others at a Florida yoga studio before committing suicide had a history of groping women and other episodes of troubling behavior.
On November 2, Scott Paul Beierle, 40, drove his red Chevrolet Sonic to a small shopping plaza, where he entered the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio and pretended to be a customer. He then took out a gun and fired on patrons, killing Florida State University professor Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and FSU student Maura Binkley, 21. Beierle's attack ended when he took his own life.
Police are scouring Beierle's electronic devices, social media accounts, and other personal items, as well as looking into his past, but they have not yet determined his motive for going on the rampage.
“Investigators have been working around the clock to uncover more information and gain clarity as to why this senseless act occurred,” said Damon Miller, a spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department.
One thing that has become clear in the course of the investigation is Beierle’s history of disturbing behavior.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Beierle was fired last May from his subsitute teacher position at Volusia County Schools for unprofessional conduct involving a girl.
"Student and witnesses allege that Mr. Beierle asked a female student if she was ticklish and then proceeded to touch her at the top of the stomach 'below the bra line,'" a district report stated. "Student was frightened and hid behind another student."
Beierle’s FSU college roommate, Julien Brown, who lived with him for about a year starting in the fall of 2011, recalled the killer as someone who “made everyone uncomfortable” and was “very weird.”
“We compared him to Ted Bundy back then,” Brown said. “It was the way he lurked and followed girls.”
“It worried me at the time,” continued Brown, explaining the hulking six foot two Beierle, who had served in the U.S. Army between 2008 and 2010, may have been suffering post traumatic stress disorder or from mental-health issues. “There was concern for sure, but there wasn’t enough evidence, and I would have been wasting the police’s time if I had made any kind of report. I had nothing.”
However, in 2012, Beierle was arrested after he went up behind two women and grabbed their buttocks at a Florida State University cafeteria.
“He stuck out like a sore thumb,” said one of the victims, Courtnee Connon. “He was just a very big guy. And it definitely made me feel intimidated. I wouldn’t say he seemed crazy. He just seemed really creepy.”
Connon opted not to press charges after the incident.
“I think I thought if he got arrested that that would hopefully be enough to stop him from doing something like that again,” she said. “And honestly, I think the idea of going to court and everything just scared me. I was only 18.”
In 2014, Beierle posted a 12-minute video on YouTube he titled: “The Rebirth of my Misogynism.”
“The target of their collective treachery can be anyone,” he ranted in the video, which has since been removed. “How do you respond when they, for whatever reason, collaborate to make the decision to attempt to tear somebody down? Well that’s where it began. That was its origins. Until I figured out how to address it.”
He then provided what some believe could be a motive for his recent shooting spree.
“I believe in karma,” Beierle said. “What comes around goes around, and those that engage in treachery ultimately will be the victims of it. Hopefully there has been justice in some comparable regard.”
Two years later, on June 1, 2016, Beierle got into trouble with groping again while at an apartment complex pool, where he told a sunbathing woman she had “a nice butt.”
“He asked her if he could put sunscreen on it,” noted a police report. “She thanked him but told him no. The suspect then introduced himself and said nice to meet you. He then slapped her butt, grabbed it and shook it. The suspect then got up and left the pool area.”
According to court records, Beierle was charged with battery, but the charges were eventually dismissed.
Connon, the woman Beierle touched in the FSU dining hall six years ago, said she has attended classes at Hot Yoga Tallahassee and regrets not going after him when she had the chance.
“I wish that I had pressed charges now,” she said. “I feel so terrible for those people. I just can’t even imagine.”