Earlier this month, Myron May turned up at his old high school in tiny Wewahitchka, Fla.
It was an unexpected visit, but a pleasant one, said Jay Bidwell, May’s former basketball and track-and-field coach.
“We were happy to see each other, and I thought he was pretty excited to be here,” said Bidwell, who also serves as Wewahitchka High School’s principal. “He was in a good mood and everything.”
On Thursday, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo identified May, 31, as the gunman who opened fire at a library at Florida State University, a school at which he was an alumnus. Three students were wounded in the attack and May was killed in a shootout with police.
“I’d like to know why it happened, but I have no insight,” Bidwell told The Post. “I called my wife, and she knew him real well, and when I told her what happened, she’d likely fainted she was so distraught.”
An investigation now indicates that May struggled with concerns of “targeting” before the early morning incident. DeLeo said investigators weren’t sure why May focused on the FSU library, or why decided to act this week.
“Mr. May had a written journal, and videos, where he expressed fears of being targeted, and he wanted to bring attention to this issue, of targeting,” DeLeo said at a press conference Thursday. “A preliminary review of these documents and videos demonstrate that Mr. May was in a state of crisis.”
Students cramming for semester exams dove behind stacks of books and hid under desks as the assailant opened fire with a handgun, authorities say. At the Thursday afternoon news conference, authorities said shots were fired inside and outside the building, and the three victims included two students and one employee.
May started firing in the library’s lobby at around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement posted on the city of Tallahassee’s website. He reloaded, and continued outside, where he met police who had responded to the scene. May “never proceeded past the security measures in place” before exiting the library, the release states. Two victims were transported to a local hospital, and the third was treated at the scene.
“Myron May is the kindest, sweetest person you ever know,” said Osei Boakye, who said he was May’s freshman-year roommate at Florida State. “Myron May will get you the shirt off his back. … Without confirmation, I can’t believe it’s true, just because it’s not the Myron I know. I can’t believe it.”
Boakye remembered May as bright, willing to engage in debate, and deeply religious. He said May wasn’t just some guy he shared a cramped dorm with — he was a close friend.
“For what it’s worth, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families,” Boakye said. “This is not the Myron that I knew. This is not the Myron that anybody knows.”
TPD defines gunman's sense of crisis: "struggling psychologically, emotionally."
— FSView (@FSView) November 20, 2014
May graduated from Florida State in 2005, and from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2009, according to officials.
Incident reports from earlier this year — when May was in New Mexico — seem to indicate that his mental health was crumbling. In October, an ex-girlfriend called police in Las Cruces, and said she was concerned about his welfare. She told an investigator that May had recently developed a “severe mental disorder” and believed police were bugging his car and phone.
“Myron came over this evening and knocked on her door,” one report reads. “When she answered the door, he [sic] noticed it was Myron and told him that she did not want anything to do with him. Myron began to ramble and handed her a piece to a car and asked her to keep it because this was a camera that the police had put in his vehicle.”
In September, May told an officer that he believed he was being watched, and said he was hearing voices coming from the walls, talking about his actions, according to another report.
“At this point, I explained to him what exactly he was talking about to which he stated that for instance last night he proceeded to draw himself a bubble bath,” the report states. “He stated once he got out (of) the bubble bath, he proceeded to go put lotion on. At which point, he specifically stated he heard voices say did you see that, he never puts lotion on.”
Bidwell said that May moved from Ohio to Florida live with his grandmother, who was “almost like a saint in our community.” He was a teenager at the time, and Bidwell said he initially had some minor disciplinary issues but was considered a “good kid” when he left for college.
“He turned his life around and became something,” Bidwell said. “We’re a tiny school and we don’t have many lawyers come out of here.”
May played basketball, ran distance for the school’s cross-country team, and was a long-jumper during track season. He participated in his classes, and — when he made it to law school at Texas Tech — was seen as a local success story.
“He wasn’t a super athlete, but he was a super hard worker,” Bidwell said, “one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached.”
May’s Facebook page is full of conspiratorial and religious-themed postings, including his last post at 7:57 p.m. Tuesday in which he wrote:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:3”
On Sunday, he shared a photo on his page of the Google home page with the words “Targeted individuals” typed into the search box.
The day before, May posted a link to a video clip from the television show “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.” The clip features a man named Robert Duncan who, the narrator states, “put together the technology that allows the government to transmit thoughts and voices into the heads of Americans.”
“IS OUR GOVERNMENT VIOLATING ORDINARY CITIZENS’ RIGHTS?” May commented above the video. “UNFORTUNATELY, THE ANSWER IS YES! SEE INSIDE THIS VIDEO”
Abigail Taunton, who lives in Wewahitchka and runs a children’s home there, knew May as a teen. She said May had stayed in her guest house recently upon returning to Florida. After working as an attorney in Texas and New Mexico, Taunton said, May was out of work and considering filing for bankruptcy due to some “financial issues.” But, she said, he was studying for Florida’s state bar.
“He seemed a little down about his situation when we talked about it,” Taunton said. “But everyone who knows Myron is just in shock. The Myron we know would not have done something like this. It has to be some kind of mental health issue.”
The last time she saw May, she said, was on Saturday, when he spent the afternoon watching the Ohio State–Minnesota football game. On Sunday, she said, he traveled to Tallahassee, where, he told her, he was planning to stay with a friend.
“He seemed to have a bright future,” she said, “but I guess that wasn’t the case.”
[This post has been updated.]