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Official says FSU gunman was alumnus

Posted at 5:37 AM, Nov 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-20 14:51:47-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  —  The gunman who shot three people at Florida State University's library early Thursday before being killed by police was a lawyer who graduated from the school, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

The official said the shooter was Myron May, who graduated from Florida State before attending Texas Tech University's law school. The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release the name.

May was fatally shot early Thursday after he shot three people at the Florida State library. Two are hospitalized and one has been released.

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Abigail Taunton, who runs a foster home in the Florida Panhandle, told the AP that May had recently been staying at a guest house she owns. She said police interviewed her husband, David, after the shooting.

“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of everyone touched by this tragedy," Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement Thursday. "While our hearts are broken for the injuries and the loss of life that occurred here last night, I have every confidence that FSU will become an even stronger campus as they come together and heal from this tragedy."

Classes were canceled Thursday. FSU President John Thrasher said they are scheduled to resume Friday.

"When a tragedy like this happens, we all reach out to grab hold of each other," he said. "We know we will move on from this incredible tragedy, but at the same time we've got to take care of the families who were impacted by this."

Officers received a call about an armed subject around 12:30 a.m., and received word while they were responding that one person had been shot, according to Tallahassee police.

Map of FSU shooting

As officers arrived at the Strozier Library, near the center of campus, they confronted the gunman near the entrance and ordered him to drop his weapon. He fired one shot at them and they unleashed a volley of shots, killing him, Tallahassee Police spokesman Dave Northway said.

The three victims of the shooting have been identified as FSU students. FSView, the university’s independent student newspaper, reports that two of the student victims remain in the hospital, one in critical condition and one in good condition. The third was treated at the scene and released.

Police have not ID’d the shooter or released a possible motive.

“If there is any positive news we can take from this occurrence, it’s that the victim count was not greater,” Tallahassee Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum said Thursday at a press conference.

“Today, we are all FSU,” added Gillum, a Gainesville native who attended Florida A&M University and was its student-body president. “We unite in collective prayer … It’s one thing to read about these incidences in the newspaper or (see them) on the national news; it’s another thing to experience it right here in your very own community.”

Taylor Evans, a 21-year-old finance major, was studying in library's lower level as the shots were fired one floor above her.

"People were screaming, they were running down stairs yelling shot, shot, shot," said Evans, as she walked to get the belongings she left when fleeing the library. "We just started running.”

She had been studying with a group of friends, including Caroline Tesch, 21, when the shots rang out.

"Everyone just started screaming and running, it was crazy," Tesch said.

The girls exited through a side maintenance door to escape the building.

Cell phone video from the library posted on Twitter shows students gathered in the stacks as a voice gives instructions over a loud speaker.

"There has been a shooting in the library," the voice says. "Stay where you are. We'll be coming to each floor to clear it and taking care of anybody. If anybody has been ... shot, call 911 on your cell phone. If you have not been shot or do not know of somebody who was armed, do not call 911. If you know of somebody who has a gun or you know of somebody who has been shot, call 911."

Northway said authorities did not believe there were any other threats related to the shooting. Shortly after 4 a.m., a loud tone sounded across the campus followed by an announcement that the campus was "all clear."

At the same time, authorities allowed hundreds of students who had been shepherded in a classroom building next to Strozier Library, a multistory building in the center of the Tallahassee campus, to return to their homes.

Hours after the shooting, detectives could be seen inspecting the body of the suspected gunman, who was lying face down at the top of an access ramp just outside the library. A gray baseball cap lay near his head.

Students who had been in the library described a chaotic scene where they heard shots, followed by students either barricading themselves in parts of the library or taking cover.

John Ehab, a sophomore from Tampa, said he was on the library's third floor when he heard multiple gunshots.

"Everyone heard them," he said. People took cover in the book aisles to hide from the gunman in case he came onto the floor, Ehab said.

Allison Kope, a freshman from Cocoa Beach, said she was on the library's first floor when said she heard a loud noise and then there was a lot of commotion. She said people were screaming about a gunman and chairs started flipping over.

"You never think something like this is going to happen to you until you have to react in that situation when someone is screaming there is a gun in the building. I ran for my life," she said. "I ran right out the backdoor. My laptop and everything is still in there. It was shock. It was just instinct. You don't think about anything else, you just go."

Daniel Morales, 19, a freshman from Fort Pierce, said that when he first heard someone say "somebody's got a gun. I thought he was joking." But after realizing there was a gunman in the library, Morales and others raced to a back room on the second floor where they barricaded a door with desks.

Freshman Nikolai Hernandez said he was in his dorm room across from the library when he heard five or six rapid gunshots.

"It was a consecutive bop, bop, bop, bop, bop," Hernandez said. "It makes me definitely a little bit nervous. I was supposed to be in the library. I had a paper to do and I got a little bit lazy and decided not to do it."

Thrasher, who took office earlier this month, said by phone that he was in New York City and had no first-hand information. He said he was making arrangements to hurry back to Tallahassee.

State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III said in a prepared statement that the top priority is the safety and well-being of the system’s students, staff and university community.

"We are proud of our students and Florida State University staff who responded quickly and appropriately to a frightening and dangerous situation," Criser said. "We also commend the officers whose prompt response secured the safety of the campus and prevented the incident from escalating further."

As a result if the shooting, a total of five officers from the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida State University Police Department have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice when there is a police-involved shooting, according to a Tallahassee Police Department news release.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.