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Police: 3 dead, including shooter, at Florida yoga studio

Posted: 9:06 PM, Nov 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-02 23:09:43-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A gunman killed two people and wounded five others at a yoga studio in Florida’s capital before killing himself Friday evening, officials said.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters Friday night that the man shot six people and pistol-whipped another after walking into the studio, which is part of a small Tallahassee shopping center.

The suspect then fatally shot himself, DeLeo said. Authorities have not identified the shooter or the victims. The conditions of the other victims are unclear.

DeLeo said police are asking for anyone who saw something unusual around the time of the shooting to contact police. He said the shooter acted alone.

“We’re all very saddened and shocked by the events that occurred, but it’s important that people understand that there is no immediate threat outside of what has already occurred this evening,” DeLeo said.

A major commuter intersection was blocked off and businesses in the plaza were on lockdown as police investigated.

City Commissioner Scott Maddox was on the scene. He said on Facebook, “In my public service career I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray.”

Elle Welling said she was leaving a liquor store across the street from the shopping center and saw at least three people loaded into ambulances.

“You don’t think about this in Tallahassee and now you have to,” said Welling, 26, who lives in the neighborhood.

The plaza 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.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, tweeted that he’s breaking off the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. He earlier appeared at a campaign event with former President Barack Obama.

“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, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, called DeLeo and the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to get details of the shooting.

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

Tallahassee’s crime and murder rate has been an issue in the governor’s race, with Gillum’s opponent, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, calling the capital Florida’s most crime-ridden city, a claim that is incorrect.