NewsLocal News


Researchers: Tallahassee Hot Yoga shooting was driven by 'incel' subculture

Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 19:45:17-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — We're now learning more about why experts say a shooter attacked a group of people during the 2018 Tallahassee yoga studio shooting.

Police say the shooter signed up for a class at Hot Yoga Tallahassee, then shot six women when he got there, killing two. Investigators say he planned it for months.

Maura Binkley was one of two people who died in Hot Yoga Tallahassee November 2018. Four others were hurt.

Researchers say the shooter had a goal in mind when he did it.

The victim's father teamed up with researchers at Florida State University and across the country to look into gun violence and the motivations behind it.

Research shows the shooter did it as part of a white male supremacy subculture known as 'incel.' This means the shooter never had sex, but hated women and wanted to punish them.

Maura Binkley's father, Jeff, says identifying what the shooter was is a step toward stopping people like him.

"That's what Maura would want more than anything," Binkley said.

Jeff Binkley says his daughter had a good head on her shoulders.

That's why he thinks researching what led her killer to want to commit murder makes sense.

"This would be so important to her," said Binkley. "I mean, Maura was not so much an ideologue as much as she was a practical solutions person."

Dr. Jim Clark works at the FSU College of Social Work. He's also one of the head researchers for the project.

"For men like this, they see feminism as having ruined society," Clark said. "So there's this certain idea of restoring white male supremacy through acts of violence."

Clark says what the man did, he did to punish a whole gender.

"He did not track them down because he had a personal grievance against a specific person," said Clark. "He tracked them down because they were women."

Clark says the shooter recorded himself, bragging about knowing other incels and wanting to be like them.

"He had identified different heroic figures in his life who had committed these types of crimes in the past," Clark said. "He composed music, poetry and it was available pretty much online, so it was very clear that he had this hatred of women as part of this ideology."

Binkley says naming the people for who they are is a step toward a law to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"It's a statement," said Clark. "It's meant to be a symbol, and a powerful symbol, but we see this as a step. If you talk to members of the senate, this is a step toward policy to address hate crimes."

Lawmakers are already using this research for a change in law. Right now, a Senate resolution is being considered to condemn hate groups. Binkley hopes, from there, they can move to pass a bill in the future that adds "violence against women" as a hate crime. After that, the group hopes to show how red flag laws could prevent violence.