After yoga studio shooting, we will find the answer together
The three of us — and our criminal justice system — stand with our community against violence of all kinds
The murders of two women, and wounding of four more women and one man, at the Hot Yoga studio stunned and aggrieved our community. The gunman’s actions have been called senseless and random — expressing feelings of vulnerability and helplessness that many experienced in the aftermath of an attack on people, and in a place, with whom the attacker possibly had no direct connection.
From the moments of the attack, our law enforcement community has actively sought answers — not just about what happened, but why it happened. We continue to explore whether such a connection existed in this case. The odds are that there would have been such a connection — and perhaps that connection will yet be found.
A study, authored by Everytown for Gun Safety, examined 110 mass shootings perpetrated between 2009 and 2016 in the United States. In 54 percent of those incidents, the perpetrator targeted an intimate partner or family member in the attack; in at least 20 incidents, the shooter had previously been charged with domestic violence.
Some have suggested another explanation: that this was a hate crime motivated by misogyny, a hatred of women. If misogyny motivated these murders, then this shooting is the most recent of several mass killings since 2014 targeting women: Alek Minassian’s Toronto van attack earlier this year, killing 10 people and injuring 19 more; Chris Harper-Mercer’s murder of nine people at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College in 2015; and Elliott Rodger’s killing of nine people, mostly women, near the UC/Santa Barbara campus in 2014.
All those perpetrators affiliated themselves with extremist male supremacy groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have tracked and reported on the growth of such male supremacist networks, which foster hate and violence, over the last several years.
We come together to give assurance that our criminal justice system is working tirelessly to find answers. In the two weeks since this horrible crime, thousands of documents, interviews and other investigative leads have been reviewed. Many more will follow.
We continue to join as community partners. Whether this violence was motivated by gender, race, religion, nationality or any other trait, we vow to fight together to understand this perpetrator’s motivations and to protect our community from future violence.
As partners, we have stood together to fight anti-semitism, racism, sexual exploitation, religious extremism, domestic violence and even hurricanes. We trust in one another and in our collective commitments to solve these ills, and to develop the interventions and strategies that can effectively address any emerging forms of unlawful, harming behavior, including misogynistic violence.
We are with each of you, and want all to know that none of us will allow time to lessen our resolve.
Jack Campbell is the state attorney for Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit. Michael DeLeo is the Chief of Police of the Tallahassee Police Department. Meg Baldwin is the executive director of Refuge House, Inc.