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November 03, 2018 10:50 AM

Authorities have released the names of the two people and the gunman who died during Friday’s deadly shooting at a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida.

Maura Binkley, 21, and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, lost their lives after shooter Scott Paul Beierle, 40, barged into the studio located in a small shopping center, the Tallahassee Police Department said in a press release early Saturday morning.

Binkley was studying at Florida State University, WCTV reported, while Van Vessem — a doctor specializing in internal medicine, according to the Tallahassee Democrat — taught at the university’s medical school. She was also the chief medical director for Florida’s Capital Health Plan.

Maura Binkley and Nancy Van Vessem
Facebook; Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare

“There are no words to express the shock and grief we feel after learning of the deaths of Maura Binkley and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem,” FSU President John Thrasher tweeted on Saturday. “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.”  

“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,” he added.

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A total of six people were shot and one person was pistol-whipped in the incident, according to the news release. Two of those with bullet wounds are in stable condition while the other three injured have been released from a local hospital.

Beierle has a history with authorities, as a mugshot from a prior arrest was obtained by WTXL. He was found dead on the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tallahassee Police Department Chief Michael DeLeo said in a press conference on Saturday that investigators have yet to draw a connection between Beierle and any of the victims or the location.

“That’s where the investigative work comes into play between what his cell phone records are, social media, laptops, talking to his friends, his neighbors, family members about what may have precipitated this event,” he said.

Kristin Jacobs, a Democratic politician who is a representative for Broward County — the same community where a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students in February — witnessed the aftermath of the yoga studio shooting at a nearby bar.

“A girl ran into the bar. She could hardly talk. She was hyperventilating. I heard her say ‘shooter.’ Two other women came in, and I kept hearing the word ‘shooter,’” Jacobs told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Jacobs also came across the pistol-whipped victim. “Many people are alive because this guy rushed the shooter,” Jacobs explained to the Tallahassee Democrat, adding that the man had a “bloodied head.”

Police investigators work the scene of a shooting in Tallahassee, Florida
Steve Cannon/AP/Shutterstock

In the wake of the devastating incident, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum — who is also Florida’s Democratic candidate for governor — halted his campaign to direct his attention to the shooting.

“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 tweeted.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott also spoke on the shooting, tweeting, “I have been briefed by FDLE and local law enforcement regarding the shooting in Tallahassee. FDLE is on the scene and assisting local police.”

“I will remain in constant communication with law enforcement. We have offered state assistance,” Scott added.

City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who was on the scene, wrote about the incident on Facebook.

“Left the scene. Have no words to express the sadness I feel. How do you make sense of a senseless act of evil. We must continue to talk to our children. Be kind to one another. Be civil always condemn those that spew hate. We can no longer ignore hatred. We must act… and most of all we must pray,” Maddox wrote.

The city of Tallahassee’s verified Twitter account sent a message about the incident, writing, “As we process the gut-wrenching act of violence that took place this evening in a place of peace in our community, we hold in our hearts everyone who is affected and lift them up in love.”

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