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Two dead, several wounded in US yoga studio shooting: police

Police officers stand in front of Hot Yoga Tallahassee in Florida on November 2, 2018
AFP

Miami (AFP) – A gunman killed two people and wounded five others at a yoga studio in Florida’s state capital Tallahassee before taking his own life, police said Saturday.

At approximately 5:47 pm on Friday, 40-year-old Scott Beierle “entered the business posing as a customer and began shooting patrons with a handgun without warning,” the Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement.

“Patrons fought the assailant to prevent him from harming themselves and others. The assailant then turned the gun on himself and died on scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

It said two women, Nancy Van Vessem and Maura Binkley, aged 61 and 21 respectively, were killed. Two other women were in “stable condition,” while two more women and a man were treated and release from hospital.

Beierle, a graduate of Florida State University with prior military service, had previously been the subject of police calls for harassing young women, according to the statement.

The investigation is ongoing, and police have yet to establish a link between the shooter and the victims and yoga business.

The gunman had posted on YouTube videos of himself giving violent racist and misogynistic speeches, according to BuzzFeed.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor of Florida and cut short a campaign event to return to the city, tweeted: “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 added.

The yoga studio’s Facebook page received dozens of messages of support, including from elsewhere in Florida, the US and abroad.

“Sending prayers, love and peace for healing the Tallahassee yoga community,” read a comment by Facebook user Melissa Gregory. 

“May blessings be restored in this studio and all yogis who share this space. Namaste!”

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