FSU gunman thought government was after him, according to his journal

Police obtained a journal that belonged to a Florida State University alumnus involved in a campus shooting early Thursday morning.

Mark Wallheiser/AP
Tallahassee police investigate a shooting outside the Strozier library on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.

A Florida State University alumnus and attorney who shot three people at the school's library early Thursday believed the government was targeting him for persecution, detailing his thoughts in a journal and in videos detectives obtained, authorities said.

Officers fatally shot Myron May, 31, during an exchange outside the library about 12:30 a.m. May reloaded at least once and tried to enter the library, where 300 or more students were studying for midterm exams, but was blocked by lobby security barriers that permit only students and staff inside, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said.

The shooting sent students scrambling for cover in the book aisles and barricading themselves in with desks amid screams from classmates.

"I ran for my life," said Allison Kope, a freshman from Cocoa Beach, who was on the library's first floor. "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."

One person is in critical condition and one is in good condition at a local hospital, while the third was released.

May's Facebook page shows he posted mostly Bible verses and links to conspiracy theories about the government reading people's minds.

Records show May was licensed to practice law in Texas and New Mexico.

According to a Las Cruces, New Mexico, police report last month, May was a subject of a harassment complaint after a former girlfriend called to report he came to her home uninvited and claimed police were bugging his house and car. Danielle Nixon told police May recently developed "a severe mental disorder."

"Myron began to ramble and handed her a piece to a car and asked her to keep it because this was a camera that police had put in his vehicle," the report said.

The report also said May recently quit his job and was on medication.

No charges were filed.

Abigail Taunton, who runs a foster home in the Florida Panhandle, told AP that May was staying at a guest house she owns.

"He's just a boy our kids grew up with that we let stay in one of our guest houses for a while," she said. "He's moving back home from Texas and we were trying to help him get on his feet."

"We're just all astounded. We had no idea that he would do something like this," Taunton said. "Obviously, he was not in his right mind."

She said she had known him since he was about 13 or 14 and that he ran cross country with her kids and stayed at her house a lot. She said he lived with his grandmother after coming out of a "bad situation" with his parents.

"He was having some financial issues and moved back home and decided he'd come back to Florida to work," she said.

The shooting prompted a campus alert that urged students to take shelter and stay away from doors and windows.

Sarah Evans, a senior from Miami, said she was inside the library and heard a male student say he had been shot. When she looked at him, he was on the ground.

Tallahassee and Florida State police confronted May just outside the library in the middle of campus and ordered him to drop his handgun, but he fired a shot at them and they unleashed a volley of shots, Tallahassee Police spokesman Dave Northway said.

FSU canceled classes Thursday but said they would resume Friday. The library was also to reopen Friday.

Florida State President John Thrasher was in New York City at the time of the shooting but has returned to campus.

Gov. Rick Scott had been in South Florida for a meeting with other Republican governors. He returned to Tallahassee where he met with Thrasher.

"The police investigation will answer many of the questions we are asking today, but just like any tragedy the ultimate question of why, we'll never have an answer that satisfies those who loved ones have been injured," Scott said.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.