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Florida yoga studio shooting: Police say gunman who killed 2 women posed as a customer – National

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What was supposed to be a routine Friday night ritual of socializing, dining and exercising in an upscale shopping center a few miles from Florida’s Capitol turned into a chaotic scene after a gunman shot two women to death and wounded five other people at a yoga studio before killing himself.

Tallahassee police say 40-year-old Scott Paul Beierle shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the yoga studio that sits on the second floor of the small shopping plaza. Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said some in the studio showed courage and tried to stop him.

Witnesses at the shopping center described how people who had been in the studio, including one who was bleeding, ran away, seeking shelter in nearby bars and restaurants as shots rang out.

Police responded within a few minutes, but by then Beirele had fatally shot himself, leaving police to search for a motive and a community to wonder what prompted the violence near the city’s fashionable midtown neighborhoods.

READ MORE: Florida shooter kills 2 at yoga class, police say several people ‘fought back’

“It’s a place that brings my joy and peace, and I think it’s ruined,” said Katie Bohnett, an instructor at the yoga studio who skipped her normal Friday practice to meet a friend for dinner. “This monster ruined it.”

Police said Beierle acted alone but they were still looking into what prompted the shooting. He had been in the military and was a graduate of nearby Florida State University, but was living in Deltona, a town in central Florida east of Orlando. Authorities in that county were searching his residence there.

Witnesses told police that Beierle posed as a customer to gain entrance to the studio, then started shooting without warning. Police have not yet said what kind of gun he used. Bohnett said that those at the studio Friday were yoga devotees. She said she did not recognize Beierle.

The two slain Friday were a student and faculty member at Florida State University, according to university officials. The department identified them as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21. Online records show Binkley was from Atlanta. Police said two other victims were in stable condition, and three had been released from the hospital.

WATCH: Andrew Gillum reacts to Florida yoga studio shooting







Van Vessem was an internist who also served as chief medical director for Capital Health Plan, the area’s leading health maintenance organization.

“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,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement.

Court and FSU records show that Beierle had been previously arrested for grabbing women — and had once been banned from FSU’s campus.

Beierle was charged by police with battery in 2016 after he slapped and grabbed a woman’s buttocks at an apartment complex pool. Records show that the charges were eventually dismissed after Beierle followed the conditions of a deferred prosecution agreement.

This undated photo provided by Leon County Sheriff’s Office shows Scott Paul Beierle.

Leon County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Beierle was also charged with battery in 2012 for grabbing women’s buttocks in a university campus dining hall. A FSU police report shows that Beierle told police he may have accidentally bumped into someone, but denied grabbing anyone.

In 2014, Beierle was charged with trespassing at FSU. He had been seen following an FSU volleyball coach near the campus gym and was told that he was banned from campus. A month later police found him at a campus restaurant.

The plaza where the shooting took place is home to popular restaurants, a jewelry store, a framing shop, a hair salon and other businesses.

Erskin Wesson, 64, said he was eating dinner with his family at a restaurant located below the yoga studio when they heard the gunshots above them.

“We just heard ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’” Wesson said. “It sounded like a limb falling on a tin roof and rolling.”

The restaurant’s owner came by a short time later, asking if anyone was a doctor, Wesson said. His step-daughter is an emergency room nurse and helped paramedics for about an hour, he said.

Police investigators work the scene of a shooting, Nov. 2, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla.

AP Photo/Steve Cannon

Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a “profusely” bleeding man who rushed into a bar after the incident. She said three people from the studio ran in, and they were told there was an active shooter.

“It was a shocking moment something happened like this,” Hutchinson said.

The people who came in were injured, including the bleeding man who was pistol-whipped while trying to stop the shooter. They told her the shooter kept coming in and out of the studio. When he loaded his gun, people started pounding the studio’s windows to warn people.

Both Gov. Rick Scott and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor, broke off from the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. Scott and Gillum both visited gunshot victims, including one who had been shot nine times. Gillum said the two women he met “were in good spirits.” Gillum also praised Scott, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, for his “care and consideration” in meeting with the victims.

The two candidates resumed their schedule Saturday. Scott is expected to join President Donald Trump for a Saturday evening campaign rally.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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