Secret service says the Hot Yoga shooting could have been prevented – Tallahassee Democrat

Scott Beierle had a long trail of misogynist and criminal behavior that was missed by authorities before he walked into Hot Yoga in 2018 in Tallahassee, killing two people and injuring five, the U.S. Secret Service determined in a new report. 
The case study focused on 40-year-old Beierle — who killed himself minutes after the shooting began — and linked his behavior to the greater threat of what investigators called “misogynistic extremism,” sometimes referred to as “male supremacy.” 
The 28-page report was published Tuesday by the National Threat Assessment Center, a component of the Secret Service that compiles research and guidance for law enforcement agencies. 
Read the report: Hot Yoga Tallahassee: A Case Study of Misogynistic Extremism
Initial coverage: 
There were plenty of red flags.
He was arrested for groping women and trespassing at least three times; he was fired from multiple school districts for touching female students; his “inappropriate contact with female soldiers” led to his military discharge in 2010 and he was kicked out of his apartment after assaulting a woman at the complex’s swimming pool.
His own brother suspected that Beierle was possibly the D.C. sniper who killed 10 people and injured three others in 2002. He was living in the area at the time but was not involved in the shootings.
Beierle briefly worked as a substitute teacher for Leon County Schools before he was fired for surfing porn sites at a middle school. 
More: LCS was wary of hiring Tallahassee yoga studio shooter as substitute, but did anyway
A failed screenwriter and musician who moved to California and back home with his parents in Vestal, New York, Beierle’s creative works were outlets for his misogynist views.
In the summer before his senior year of high school, he wrote an 80-page, revenge-fantasy novella titled “Rejected Youth” about a middle school boy who murders his female classmates before killing himself as law enforcement arrives, the report said. 
A deeper look into Beierle’s past:
These writings, of which there are four novels, a screenplay and more than 100 songs, prompted the wife of one of his friends to call federal authorities, who said they could not do anything because there was no specific threat. 
His writings also led his parents to lock their doors as they slept on more than one occasion. They also kicked Beierle out of his niece’s birthday party “for touching young girls,” according to the Secret Service. 
The report highlighted his online movements, too. On a popular video-sharing platform in 2014, he uploaded 17 videos of what the Secret Service described as rants that were sexist, homophobic and racist in nature. 
On online forums, he proclaimed his admiration and support of Adolf Hitler and “his genocide.”
The day before he walked into Hot Yoga with a semiautomatic handgun, he uploaded 27 songs centered around his hatred of women.
“If I can’t find one decent female to live with, I will find many indecent ones to die with,” he sang in one recording. “If they are intent on denying me life, I will have no choice, but to deny them life.”
Beierle said his misogyny stemmed from being bullied and humiliated as a young boy. 
Investigators noted that his views aligned with self-described involuntary celibates or “incels,” who are men who feel unable to obtain a romantic or sexual relationship with women, to which they feel entitled, according to the report. 
On the surface, as the Secret Service pointed out, Beierle had an impressive academic resume. 
In high school, he achieved multiple awards for football, the Boy Scouts and he was elected vice president of his senior class. He later graduated college with an undergraduate in political science and government before moving to Maryland.
Then, after a brief stint in the military, he moved back home and eventually attended Florida State University, where he graduated in 2014 with two master’s degrees.
However, a less superficial look at his history reveals “objectively concerning behavior that continued for decades,” wrote analysts, concluding that a dive into Beierle’s actions reveals the danger of misogynist extremism and its potential to escalate into violence. 
“What most attackers share … are observable concerning behaviors displayed prior to engaging in violence,” the report says. “Although every act of targeted violence may not be prevented, the risk of future tragedies can be reduced if the appropriate systems are in place to identify the warning signs, gather information and apply the appropriate community resources.”
Killed in the attack were Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old Florida State University student, and Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, a 61-year-old mother of three daughters and chief medical officer for Capital Health Plan.
Yoga studio shooting victim: Maura Binkley, victim in Florida yoga studio shooting, ‘just wanted to help other people’
Since the shooting, Maura’s father, Jeff Binkley, launched Maura’s Voice, a research foundation focused on the intersections of mental illness, hate and gun safety — with a goal of developing policy proposals to address hate speech, gun safety and, especially, violence against women. 
“I think this just lays out a massive failure of responsibility here,” he told the Democrat on Monday. “It’s terribly painful for me to read and to see so clearly how this should never have happened.”
Every legislative session since 2016, Binkley has fought for legislation that would add gender to the list of bias-motivated crimes that currently includes race and religion. 
Maura’s Voice coverage:
In the latest session, Senate Bill 308 — which was introduced by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach — died in the criminal justice committee. 
“I just think that this reluctance to recognize misogynistic hatred is out there,” Binkley said. “I don’t know how to characterize it, except that it’s terribly unfortunate. It’s probably the nicest way I could put it.”
Contact Christopher Cann at and follow @ChrisCannFL on Twitter.
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