Myron May, the Florida State University alumnus who has been identified as the gunman behind Thursday’s shooting at the school, was dealing with financial troubles and experiencing paranoia that the government was spying on him, officials reported Thursday, according to USA Today.
He had apparently recently quit his job as a prosecutor at the district attorney’s office in Las Cruces, N.M., before returning to Tallahassee, Fla., and ultimately carrying out his attack.
“Mr. May was in a state of crisis … struggling either psychologically or emotionally,” police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters, USA Today notes.
According to USA Today, just last month May’s ex-girlfriend filed a harassment complaint, saying May told her that authorities were wiretapping his home and his car. The ex told investigators that May had developed a “severe mental disorder,” for which he was taking medication.
Early Thursday morning, May entered his alma mater’s Stozier Library and shot three people before being fatally shot himself by local police inside the library. Two of his victims are still hospitalized, while one has since been released. Classes were canceled Thursday because of the police investigation, the Associated Press reported.
A Facebook page attributed to May showed what was reportedly his last post, dated the evening of Nov. 18, which read, perhaps chillingly, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:3”
An acquaintance, Abigail Taunton, founder of the Taunton Family Children’s Home in Wewahitchka, Fla.—where, as a young boy, May attended junior and senior high—told AP that people who knew May were “astounded.”
“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.
“He was having some financial issues and moved back home and decided he’d come back to Florida to work,” she said. “My heart’s broken. In a million years I wouldn’t have thought he’d do something like this. 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.”
May had reportedly listed the children’s home as his workplace, but Taunton said that the only relationship was May’s frequent presence there as a teenager.
The lawyer had graduated from FSU before attending law school at Texas Tech University. He was, at one point, employed at a law firm in Houston. Taunton told USA Today that May was planning to take the bar exam in February to practice in Florida.
As the university grappled with the initial aftermath of the shooting, Florida officials spoke at news conferences and encouraged the community to support one another.
“We are Seminole family, and when something like this happens we all reach out to grab hold of each other,” Florida Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday at a news conference, according to AP.
“We are all FSU,” Tallahassee Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum added, according to the report. “We ask at this time for continued prayer, prayer for the immediate victims, prayer for those who had to endure this traumatic experience.”
“The Florida State University community is extremely saddened by the shootings that took place early this morning at Strozier Library, in the very heart of campus, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who have been affected. The three students who have been injured are our highest priority followed by the needs of our greater university community. We will do everything possible to assist with their recovery,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement.