TPD: Hot Yoga Tallahassee gunman was reported to FBI, planned attack for months

Shooter, two victims identified after shooting at Tallahassee yoga studio
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 10:43:07-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Tallahassee Police Department has provided an update on their investigation into the Hot Yoga shooting in November 2018 that left two dead and five others injured.

Tuesday afternoon, TPD Chief Michael DeLeo held a press conference at their headquarters:

During the past three months, Chief DeLeo explained that investigators have been looking into 40-year-old Scott Beierle and his actions leading up to the deadly shooting over the last three months.

At about 5:37 p.m. on Friday, November 2, officers were called to the 1900 block of Thomasville Road to Hot Yoga Tallahassee.  

When authorities arrived on scene, they found multiple people suffering from gunshot wounds and immediately provided medical attention to the victims.

Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old FSU student, and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, a 61-year-old faculty member with the College of Medicine, passed away from their injuries sustained in the shooting.

Five other people were injured in the act of violence. The gunman, identified as Beierle, killed himself inside the studio that day.

"Since that time, investigators have been diligently working to find answers for our victims, their families and the community," DeLeo said. "...During the investigation, our investigators conducted dozens of interviews and reviewed the equivalent of thousands of pages of documents of Mr. Beierle's journals, records and electronic files."

DeLeo provided a timeline of key points Beierle's life that lead up to his attack in Tallahassee. You can view the individual incident reports here and the supplemental reports here

"Going back over the course of interviews, it was determined that Mr. Beierle had a history of sexual misconduct toward women, including students, that began in his time in grade school," DeLeo explained.

Here are some of the key points DeLeo touched on during Tuesday's press conference (the story continues below):

January 30, 2009

Beierle joined the U.S. Army.

March 6, 2009

Beierle purchased a .40 caliber Glock handgun in Lawton, Oklahoma

March 25, 2009

Beierle purchased a 9mm handgun in Lawton, Oklahoma.

June 9, 2010

During his time in the army, Beierle was investigated for inappropriate contact with female soldiers. On this day, Beierle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army for "unacceptable conduct."

August 29, 2011

Beierle enrolled into Florida State University and resided in Tallahassee. 

December 7, 2012

Beierle was arrested for battery by the FSU Police Department. Based on the police report, Beierle was accused of groping two females.

Unspecified time in 2013 

Beierle sold the .40 caliber Glock handgun in Tallahassee.

May 3, 2013 

Beierle graduated from FSU.

July 2, 2014

Beierle was arrested by the FSU Police Department for trespassing. Based on the police report, he was accused of following a female employee.

April 25, 2015

Beierle was employed by Leon County Schools as a substitute teacher

January 23, 2016

Beierle conducted his first known Google search that combined the term "yoga" and provocative content. 

March 8, 2016

Beierle was fired by Leon County Schools. Based on school internet history records, Beierle was terminated because he was looking up pornographic material while working as a teacher.

May 19, 2016

Beierle conducted his first known Google search for "Tallahassee Hot Yoga."

July 16, 2016

Beierle was arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department for battery. Based on the police reports, he was arrested for "battering [a] victim on her buttocks while she laid near a pool."

September 2016

Beierle relocated to Daytona, Florida. Based on an interview with his former roommate, Beierle met the roommate on a website.

August 17, 2017

Beierle was employed by Volusia County public schools as a substitute teacher

May & June 2018

Beierle conducted internet searches related to cheerleading camps, including one in Panama City.

June 1, 2018 

Beierle was fired by Volusia County public schools. Based on school records, Beierle was terminated after he touched a female student inappropriately.

July 14, 2018

Beierle conducted his last known Google search that combined the term "yoga" and provocative content. 

July 23, 2018

Beierle bought a 9mm Glock handgun that he would later use during the deadly shooting in Tallahassee. The gun was purchased in Orange City, Florida.

July 30, 2018

Beierle bought 30 minutes of range time at the Tallahassee Indoor Shooting Range. Based on Beierle later traveled to Panama City Beach after leaving the shooting range. There were no reports of any other activity from Beierle while he was at Panama City Beach.

August 3, 2018

Beierle conducted a Google search for a map of Hot Yoga Tallahassee.

August 2018

Beierle sent a link to his website to a childhood friend. According to investigators, the content involved rape and torture of women.

August 5, 2018

Based on the content of the website Beierle sent, the spouse of Beierle's childhood friend submitted a tip about Beierle to the FBI. The tip was later determined to be "not actionable" by the FBI. 

August 17, 2018

Beierle called Hot Yoga Tallahassee. Staff couldn't tell investigators anything specific about the call.

October 2, 2018

Beierle viewed Hot Yoga Tallahassee's schedule on their website. 

October 12, 2018

Beierle viewed a Tallahassee news story related to the restoration of electrical power after Hurricane Michael.

October 14, 2018

Beierle booked a hotel room at the Tallahassee Suburban Extended Stay.

October 30, 2018 

Beierle sold the 9mm handgun he purchased in March 2009 to a pawn shop in Orange City, Florida.

October 31, 2018

Beierle went to an Orange City Walmart and purchased hearing protection and  a yoga mat at approximately 3 p.m. He then went to Live Oak, Florida and bought more hearing protection around 7:22 p.m. Later that evening, Beierle arrived at the Tallahassee Suburban Extended Stay at approximately 8:52 p.m.

November 1, 2018

Beierle left the Tallahassee hotel around 9:13 p.m. and returned at approximately 9:50 p.m.

November 2, 2018

Beierle left the hotel room at approximately 4:35 p.m. Based on surveillance footage, Beierle wore a fanny pack and carried a black bag with him. That day, Beierle went into Hot Yoga Tallahassee around 5:17 p.m. 

Once inside, he paid to attend the 5:30 p.m. class and paced outside while waiting for the class to begin. Five minutes later, he went back in and received instruction from the instructor. 

Beierle then retrieved the hearing protection he bought, put it on and pulled out a handgun from his bag. He then shot the two victims who didn't survive from behind, "never giving them the opportunity to confront their attacker or flee."

As he continued to shoot at the other people inside the studio, one of the victims hit Beierle with a vaccum cleaner and struggled with him. During the struggle, the weapon malfunctioned, giving several people the chance to escape.

"One of the injured victims pretended to be dead and laid on the floor during the struggle," DeLeo said. "After the shooting stopped, the victim heard Beierle make an unintelligible statement, a pause, and then heard a single gunshot. The victim looked up and saw Beierle lying on top of one of the deceased victims."

At that time, first responders began to arrive on scene.  

DeLeo says that the department's investigation revealed "substantial evidence" that Beierle had been planning the shooting for months. 

"As tragic and horrific as the event was, [Beierle] had almost 100 rounds of ammunition with him," DeLeo stated. "And I know it sounds difficult to say, but this could've been even worse than what it was."

They don't believe he targeted anyone specific during the shooting, though they said he spoke to a woman in 2013 via Facebook Messenger who told him she attended yoga classes in Tallahassee.

“There’s nothing that specifically drove him in any of the evidence we’ve gone through," DeLeo said.

While DeLeo says Beierle's journal had "threatening and derogatory" references to the woman, police have not determined whether he knew she specifically attended Hot Yoga Tallahassee. 

Based on Beierle's writings, DeLeo said he "expressed hatred toward women in general," with rape, torture, murder being reoccurring themes in his writing. 

Police say the investigation revealed that Beierle had sought mental health counseling on several occasions and suffered "severe financial stress" since he couldn't maintain employment. 

"Based on the investigative work, Scott Beierle was a disturbed individual who harbored hatred toward women," DeLeo stated. "Though there was no specific target at the yoga studio on the night of Nov. 2, Scott Beierle's lifetime of misogynistic attitudes caused him to attack a familiar community where he had been arrested several times for his previous violent actions toward women."

DeLeo says that had Beierle been taken in alive, he would be facing two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.