Myron May had already shot his three victims by the time police arrived at the Florida State University library early Thursday, Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs said Friday.
FSU Police Chief David Perry also said Friday there is “no evidence’’ that any of the victims were shot by officers responding to reports of a gunman opening fire at the main library.
Meggs said his office will conduct a grand jury investigation of the shooting — as it does with all police shootings — in about a month. So far, at least, Meggs said the shooting appears to be justified.
“[The police] were being shot at and they returned fire,” said Meggs when asked who shot first.
Meanwhile, more disturbing details emerged on May’s mindset and state of paranoia in the days leading up to his attack at FSU’s Strozier Library.
NBC News reported that just hours before he opened fire, May left a desperate voicemail for an acquaintance with this plea: “I do not want to die in vain.”
The message, NBC reported, was part of “a flurry of emails, texts and phone calls in which the former prosecutor laid bare his torment: He believed government ‘stalkers’ were harassing him and using a ‘direct energy weapon’ to hurt him. NBC also said he had sent packages to 10 people that would “expose” what he thought was happening to him.
One of those packages was sent to Houston and was secured by federal investigators Friday morning, said FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap.
Dunlap said the Tallahassee Police Department is still the lead agency in the investigation so she could not release many details, but the package did not contain a “hazardous threat to the public.” She declined to say if it was sent to a residential or business address.
Law enforcement officials told Abigail Taunton to be on the lookout for any packages arriving by mail in the next few days, her daughter, Diana Taunton, 34, told the Herald/Times.
“She was told that if we get any package, report it immediately to the authorities,” Taunton said at noon on Friday. “But so far, we haven’t received anything.”
The Taunton family knew May as a teenager and allowed him to stay at their guest house in Wewahitchka, Fla., when May returned to Florida from Texas.
May’s freshman year roommate, Osei Boakye, said little when asked about the letters Friday morning. Boakye said he spoke with police Thursday about May, and the officers may have mentioned the letters in passing, but that was not at the forefront of his mind in the wake of the shooting. He said he did not know whether he was an intended recipient, but he does not expect any of the packages will be dangerous.
“He’s not going to send letterbombs or something like that,” Boakye said.
Police obtained videos and journals Thursday that indicate May feared he was being watched and targeted by the government. Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said May was trying to get that message out.
May sent friends messages before the shooting saying they could expect packages Friday. Authorities were trying to intercept them, but they weren’t sure where each of the packages was to be delivered. They believe they are being sent to several states.
“To date, letters identified do not appear to pose a threat or contain hazardous items,” The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said in an email to the Associated Press. The packages were in flat-rate, priority mail envelopes.
May graduated from Florida State in 2005 and earned a law degree at Texas Tech University. He worked as a lawyer in Texas and New Mexico before returning about three weeks ago to Florida. He has family in Ohio, where he was born.
May posted on his Facebook page links to information on alleged government mind-reading and he believed the government was spying on him. He made rambling statements to police and a former girlfriend. He abruptly quit his job and headed back to Florida, staying with friends and giving no hint about his violent plans until early Thursday when he headed to his alma mater.
Police said May, 31, an attorney and 2005 FSU graduate, was in a paranoia-fueled “state of crisis” when he showed up to the FSU library with a .380 semiautomic pistol, shot three people and was then killed by cops after refusing to surrender.
In its report, NBC said that Renee Pittman Mitchell, who called herself a “targeted individual” and has a blog devoted to government conspiracy claims, said May had reached out to her through Facebook about a week ago in a state of anguish.
“He told me he just didn’t want to go on living like this,” Mitchell told NBC.
“I am currently being cooked in my chair. I devised a scheme where I was going to expose this once and for all and I really need you,” May said in one of the messages, which was provided to NBC News and authenticated by a relative as May’s voice. “I do not want to die in vain.”
NBC also reported that May sent an email only about an hour before he opened fire at the FSU library, writing the following: “I’ve been getting hit with the direct energy weapon in my chest all evening. It hurts really bad right now.”
Tampa Bay Times reporter Zachary T. Sampson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.