What We Know About the Yoga Studio Shooter

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Naples Daily News (Florida)

Aloof and blank, "Mr. B." wasn't like other substitute teachers at Deltona Middle School.

He was quiet and disengaged. He wouldn't help students even when they asked for it. He dozed off at his desk in the back of the classroom. Students who derided him behind his back recorded him sleeping at his desk and posted it on Snapchat for all to see.

A year before Scott Beierle opened fire inside a Tallahassee yoga studio, killing two people and wounding five others before killing himself, he worked as a substitute teacher for Volusia County Schools. At Deltona Middle, he earned a reputation among students for being lazy, detached and downright strange.

"He just gave off a psychopath vibe, like someone crazy," said Samantha Mikolajczyk, 14, who had Beierle as a sub in her history class about a dozen times last year when she was in eighth grade.

Beierle always had the same empty expression on his face all the time, Samantha said. If he wasn't asleep in the back of the classroom, he was fiddling with his cellphone. The students seemed an afterthought.

"He would never really smile, never gave off much except a really weird aura, I guess," she said. "He would put you on edge if he was talking with you or you were alone with him. A lot of the students in my class used to make fun of him."

Kelly Schulz, a spokeswoman for the Volusia County Schools, confirmed Sunday that Beierle worked as a substitute teacher for the district last year. She acknowledged the district will conduct a review of Beierle's employment. But she said she couldn't comment further until the district office opens on Monday.

One day last year, Samantha found herself alone with Beierle after class. She said she wanted to ask him why he gave her an F on an assignment and why he was putting grades in the grade book, something she said substitute teachers weren't supposed to do. He ended up changing her grade to a C. But she still found the encounter with Beierle off-putting.

"I can't really describe it," she said. "He just intimidated me, made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn't really anything he said. It was just his energy and the way he spoke."

Mason Roberts, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Deltona and a friend of Samantha, said Beierle showed up as a substitute teacher in her language arts class once last year.

"He was very quiet," she said. "He seemed just out of it, I guess. He seemed very lazy. And even when we asked him a question, he seemed not to care. He was really creepy. He didn't do things like a substitute would normally do."

Even though her class was well-behaved that day, Beierle gave them extra work to do outside of the regular teacher's lesson plans.

"He seemed like he had more authority than a substitute teacher should have," she said. "And it was just strange because we'd never had a substitute that gave us extra work. We never had a substitute who put grades in the grade book."

Mason's mom, Allison Roberts, said she was shocked Beierle was ever allowed to teach. Beierle had a history of arrests, but not convictions, for grabbing young women around the campus of Florida State University, where he earned graduate degrees. She found out about Beierle on Saturday night, after her daughter mentioned it at dinner.

"I was very upset," she said. "Someone with charges like that? How in the hell did he get in the classroom with my daughter? Anyone that's got a history of being arrested for things such as that should absolutely not be around teenage girls or children period."

Beierle also taught high school English and social studies in Anne Arundel County in Maryland from 2005 to 2007, according to WTOP of Washington, D.C. He resigned at the end of the 2006-07 school year, district officials told the news station.

Beierle was arrested on two counts of simple battery in 2012 after two young women complained he grabbed their buttocks at the Suwannee Room dining hall at FSU. He was arrested again on battery charges in 2016 after grabbing a young woman's behind at the swimming pool at his apartment complex on West Tennessee Street.

But prosecutors dropped charges in both cases. In the 2012 case, at least one of the victims decided not to pursue the matter.

Court records indicate he got into trouble on campus after his first arrest, prompting the FSU Police Department to ban him from campus. On June 17, 2014, the FSU Police Department gave Beierle a trespass warning, though the reason why wasn't clear from records. A couple of weeks later, he was arrested for trespassing after campus officers spotted him inside Fresh Food on West Call Street, a campus eatery he was known to frequent.

Dennis Schnittker, a spokesman for FSU, confirmed Sunday that Beierle was admitted to the university in 2011 and was awarded master's degrees in public administration and planning in 2013. Beierle earned a bachelor's degree from Binghamton University in New York, the state where he was born.

Nobody answered the door Sunday after a reporter went to Beierle's house in Deltona. Two Christmas wreaths decorated the front door, next to a "Wipe Your Paws" doormat. Black garbage bags concealed views through two arched windows facing the street.

Rachel Rodriguez, who lives three doors down from his house, said she was shocked to find out he was the same man who gunned down innocent people in Tallahassee. She said she recalled seeing him only two or three times during the year and half she's lived in the neighborhood. She initially thought the house was unoccupied.

"I really didn't know him," she said. "He was quiet. He was like a loner."

Beierle also was apparently an amateur musician. He posted songs on SoundCloud through an alias and placed lyrics and videos on a companion website, which includes his photo in front of the U.S. Capitol. The music contains violent lyrics and song titles, including "Homicidal Impulse" and "American Whore." Some of the music was available for purchase through at least one online retailer.

One music video may have been inspired by his battery arrest and includes visuals of Taylor Swift, who was groped in a 2013 incident that became the subject of lawsuits.

In "American Massacre," he sang, "If I cannot find a decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with. Finally, I find that if I cannot make a living, then I will turn, to be successful, I will make a killing."

Florida Today reporter Rick Neale contributed to this story. Contact Jeff Burlew at [email protected] or follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.

"He seemed like he had more authority than a substitute teacher should have. And it was just strange because we'd never had a substitute that gave us extra work. We never had a substitute who put grades in the grade book."

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November 5, 2018


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