A yoga student at the Tallahassee yoga studio where a gunman killed two people last week has been credited with saving lives after he risked his own during the shooting by attacking the assailant.
Joshua Quick described the dangerous confrontation in an interview with Good Morning America that aired Sunday. Quick, who had visible facial injuries, said he used a vacuum cleaner and then a broomstick to attack the gunman. Survivors of the shooting said Quick’s courageous intervention bought them time to escape.
“Thanks to him I was able to try to rush out of the door,” Daniela Garcia Albalat, who was shot in the leg, told GMA. “I want to thank that guy from the bottom of my heart because he saved my life.”
The gunman ― identified by police as 40-year-old Scott Beierle ― reportedly entered Hot Yoga Tallahassee at around 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Beierle initially posed as a customer but within minutes of his arrival, he allegedly pulled out a handgun “without warning” and began firing at people in the studio. Several people were shot and two women — Nancy Van Vessel, a 61-year-old doctor and faculty member at Florida State University, and Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old FSU student — were killed.
Quick said there was a sudden lull in the shooting. “We were huddled in a corner ... and as he made his way over toward us, he stopped firing. I don’t know if [the gun] jammed or what was going on,” Quick told GMA ― but that’s when he decided to act.
“I picked up the only thing nearby to hit him with, which was a vacuum cleaner, and I hit him over the head,” Quick recalled.
The gunman then “turned and pistol-whipped me,” Quick said. “I felt myself fall to the ground. I didn’t lose consciousness. I jumped up, ran over and grabbed the only other thing that I could find ― which is a broomstick ― and I hit him over the head with that. Again, he pushed me off, but some people were able to run out of the room.”
The shooter then turned the gun on himself, police said. When officers arrived at around 5:40 p.m., Beierle was found dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A photo taken in the aftermath of the attack shows Quick outside the yoga studio, his white T-shirt stained with blood.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said at a press conference on Friday night that people at the yoga studio had “fought back and tried not only to save themselves but other people.”
Their actions, he said, were “a testament to the courage of the people who don’t just turn and run but the strength of our community and the spirit of those people trying to help and save and protect others.”
Authorities say they have not determined the gunman’s motive. Beierle, however, has been described as a far-right misogynist who’d had a history of sexually harassing women and spewing racist beliefs online.