A pre-exams late night at the library erupted into chaos at around 12:30am Thursday, when a single shooter opened fire on Florida State University’s crowded Strozier Library. Students hid among the stacks, and one even used a book as a shield, posting photos on Facebook of a bullet and the punctured copy of John Wyclif’s Great Medieval Thinkers that stopped it.
The gunman moved on to shoot and wound three students before taking aim at Tallahassee police officers, who shot and killed him outside the library. As police and school administrators scrambled to ensure the students’ safety in the wee hours following the shooting, details about the man behind the gun are starting to come to light.
At an early-morning press conference, Tallahassee police chief Michael DeLeo did not provide any details about the shooter other than the fact that he believed the shooting was an “isolated incident and one person acting alone.” Following the news conference, however, one law enforcement official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity that the shooter was Myron May, an FSU alum.
A quick Internet search offers at least a surface understanding of who Myron May was. According to May’s Facebook page, he is originally from Dayton, Ohio and studied at Gulf Coast State College in addition to Florida State University—going on to earn his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. He most recently lived in Wewahitchka, a small city of 1,800 in the Florida Panhandle, about 74 miles from FSU’s Tallahassee campus.
May is seen smiling in a suit and red bowtie with white polka dots in his profile photo. His Facebook page says he was the in-house counsel at Taunton Family Children’s Home. According its website, the Taunton Home is a non-profit run by David and Abigail Taunton that essentially provides housing and support for children in need. In 2000, the Taunton Family Children’s Home was a featured recipient of Oprah’s Use Your Life Award.
Abigail Taunton told the AP that she’d known May since he was 13 or 14 years old, that he’d gone through a “bad situation” with his parents, regularly staying at her house, and that he’d recently been staying at one of her guest houses while trying to get on his feet after moving back to Florida from Texas.
“He was well-liked, real smart,” Taunton said. “He was having some financial issues and moved back home and decided he’d come back to Florida to work. My heart is broken. In a million years I wouldn’t have thought he’d do something like this.”
It’s unclear what, exactly, prompted May’s move from Texas, where he was licensed to practice law, but Taunton said, “He was struggling, having decided that what he was doing out there was not good. He had some issues and just decided he’d come home. He was struggling, like we all do, financially and otherwise.”
May’s last posted on his Facebook page at 7:57pm on November 18, writing, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.~ Matthew 5:3.”
One of the shooting victims has already been sent home, while the other two are still currently hospitalized.