FBI missed crucial tip prior to Hot Yoga studio mass shooting
The Tallahassee Police Department revealed Tuesday that the FBI had initially received a tip about Scott P. Beierle, the mass shooter who killed two women and injured five others last November, but failed to follow up on the matter.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo presented the department’s findings at the end of a three-month investigation into last year’s Hot Yoga Tallahassee shooting. The investigation concluded that Beierle was motivated by a pathological hatred of women, which had been present throughout his life.
“Based on discovered evidence, Beierle had a history of sexual misconduct towards women. This conduct began in grade school and continued throughout his military career and his time here [in Florida] as a student,” DeLeo said. “This conduct was repeated again while he resided in Tallahassee which culminated in multiple arrests.”
Crucially, investigators noted that in August 2018 Beierle sent a link of his website to a childhood friend. This website contained numerous disturbing songs recorded by Beierle, including “American Bitchslap”, “American Whore”, “Sexual Predator,” and “I Raped a Nun.” The content was so disturbing that the friend’s wife submitted a tip to the FBI, which was investigated and later termed to be “non-actionable” by the Bureau.
This tip is the second time in 2018 that the FBI has passed over intelligence which could have directly stopped a mass shooting in Florida. On January 5, 2018, a woman called the FBI’s tip line to warn that Nikolas Cruz was “going to explode” and go “into a school and just [start] shooting the place up.” A little over a month later he did exactly that, killing 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
In March 2018, the FBI privately admitted to Congress that it had missed not only that tip, but a previous tip in September 2017, when a YouTube commentator “nikolas cruz” posted that he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” The Bureau eventually decided that there was not enough evidence to further pursue an investigation.
Beierle’s horrific crimes also present another example of how toxic masculinity often plays a major role in shootings. In 2014, for instance, Elliot Rodger shot six people in Isla Vista, California. In a rambling mainfesto, he explained his crimes were motivated by an inability to have relations with the opposite sex. Rodger’s actions were widely praised by the incels (short for involuntarily celibate), a virulently misogynistic online community where he gained cult status. In April 2018, another self-professed incel drove a van in Toronto, killing ten — all of whom women.
Beierle himself was aligned with the incel community, posting misogynistic videos in YouTube like “The Rebirth of My Misogynism” and another where he reference Rodger and said that he had a similar outlook.
In the press conference on Tuesday, DeLeo acknowledged the deadly role misogyny played in mass shootings, both in Tallahassee and further afield.
“Scott Beierle was a disturbed individual who harbored hatred towards women,” said DeLeo. “Although there was no specific target at the yoga studio on the night of November 2, Scott Bierle’s lifetime of misogynistic attitudes caused him to attack a familiar community, where he had been arrested several times for his previous violent actions towards women. Similar attacks have occurred around the country and it is incumbent that we come together to identify preventative strangers, to identify people who pose a threat and protect those who they would victimize.”