Alumnus shot dead after wounding three at Florida State University

By Bill Cotterell
Alumnus shot dead after wounding three at Florida State University

By Bill Cotterell

TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Brandishing a semi-automatic handgun and carrying extra ammunition in his pockets, a Florida State University graduate opened fire early on Thursday at his alma mater's main library, wounding two students and an employee as hundreds were studying for exams.

The shooter, identified by authorities as Myron May, 31, was fatally shot by police near the entrance to Florida State's Strozier Library, the latest in a string of shootings on U.S. campuses, which left one victim critically wounded.

Authorities said they found journals and videos written by May in which he expressed fears that government agencies were targeting him.

"Mr. May was in a state of crisis," Michael DeLeo, the police chief in Tallahassee, told a news conference.

A 2005 Florida State graduate, May received his law degree from Texas Tech University in 2009 and had moved back to Florida about three weeks ago, DeLeo said.

He recently quit his job and broke up with his girlfriend, according to police reports in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he was living. He told authorities he was hearing voices and thought he was being watched.

Florida police said they did not know why he chose this day to open fire. The initial call about a gunman at the library came at 12:25 a.m. local time, police said. By 12:27 a.m., the gunman had been shot down outside the library.

In all, 30 rounds of ammunition were fired during the incident, including shots by law enforcement officers and by May, who used a .380 semi-automatic handgun, authorities said.

Authorities did not identify the man who was critically wounded or another male victim treated at the scene for a graze wound. A third victim, Nathan Scott, was in good condition after being shot in the leg and was recovering at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Campus security was increased and classes were canceled on Thursday. University President John Thrasher said normal operations would resume on Friday at the campus of about 40,000 students, known for its strong football team and academics.

The shooting, which occurred just over a mile (1.6 km) from the Florida state capitol building, comes amid heightened concerns about safety at U.S. schools and a long-running, heated debate about gun control.

"Another campus shooting. Yet we still haven't started even a dialogue on keeping guns from criminals and the mentally ill," Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said on his Twitter page.

(Writing by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Will Dunham and Eric Walsh)