Officials said a gunman killed two people and wounded five others in a yoga studio in the Florida capital before he committed suicide.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael Delio told reporters that the man shot six people and flogged another after he entered the studio, which is part of a small shopping mall in Tallahassee.
Delio said the suspect shot himself and was killed.
Early in the morning the Tallahassee Police Department identified the shooter as Scott Paul Pearl, 40.
The department identified the two dead as Dr. Nancy Van Vissem, 61, and Maura Pinkley, 21.
Van Vissem was an internist and served as the medical director for the Capital Health Plan.
The Capital Health Plan issued a statement praising Van Wesem, the Democratic Party said.
“As a longtime CHP Medical Director, Nancy has been a visionary guiding force in our daily work to serve the wellness and healthcare needs of thousands of families in this community. Her dedication, care, leadership, humanity and experience have made her one of the most respected, inspiring and accomplished medical professionals in the country and country. Our hearts are full of sadness and prayers for her family. We have all blessed Nancy’s presence in our lives, “the company said.
Van Vissem and Pinkley have ties to the university.
“The loss of one of our students and one of our faculty in this tragic and violent way is devastating to the Florida State University family. We feel this loss deeply and send our deepest sympathy to the loved ones of Mora and Nancy as we pray for,” Thrasher said in a statement.
Delio said the police are asking anyone who saw something unusual around the time of the shooting to contact the police. He said the shooter acted alone and the authorities are investigating possible motives. He refused to disclose what type of rifle he had fired.
“We are very saddened and shocked by the events that happened, but it is important for people to understand that there is no immediate threat outside of what really happened this evening,” Delio said.
Melissa Hutchinson said she helped treat a man bleeding “profusely” who rushed into the bar after the accident. She said that three people from the studio ran, and were told there was an active shooter.
“It was a shocking moment that something like this happened,” Hutchinson said.
Those who came were injured, including the man who was bleeding with a whip while trying to stop the shooter. They told her the shooter kept coming in and out of the studio. When he picked up his rifle, people started pounding studio windows to warn people.
City Commissioner Scott Maddox was at the scene. He said on Facebook, “In my public service career I had to be in 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 being loaded into ambulances.
“Don’t think about it in Tallahassee and now you have to do it,” said Welling, 26, who lives in the neighborhood.
The square is home to famous restaurants, a jewelry store, framing shop, hair salon, and other businesses.
Erskine Wesson, 64, said he was having dinner with his family at a restaurant beneath his yoga studio when they heard gunshots above them.
“We just heard“ POWs, POWs, POWs, POWs, ”Wesson said.“ It looked like a limb falling onto a tin roof and rolling over. ”
Wesson said that the owner of the restaurant came shortly after that, and asked if anyone was a doctor. His daughter-in-law is a nurse in the emergency room and helped paramedics for about an hour, he said.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Jellum, the Democratic candidate for governor, has cut the campaign trail to return to Tallahassee. And appeared earlier at an election event with former President Barack Obama.
Late Friday night, Jhelum spoke to reporters near the scene of the shooting to say that he had visited in the hospital two people who had been shot in a yoga studio. The mayor said they were in good spirits despite their injuries.
Jhelum called on residents to pray for those who survived and those killed in the shooting.
“We all feel an additional sense of vulnerability” from the gunfire, the mayor said.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott, challenging Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, contacted Delio and the head of Florida’s law enforcement department for details of the shooting.
“I will stay in constant touch with law enforcement. We have offered to help the state,” Scott wrote on Twitter.
Tallahassee’s crime and murder rate has been a problem in the governor’s race, with Jellum’s opponent, former Republican Rep. Ron DeSantes, describing the most prevalent crime city in Florida, an incorrect claim.