Gunman kills five people in bank in Sebring, Florida

Gunman kills five people in bank in Sebring, Florida

Sebring, Florida - A gunman opened fire inside a Florida bank Wednesday, killing five people before surrendering to a SWAT team, police said.

Zephen Xaver, 21, shot all five people execution-style Wednesday at the SunTrust Bank in Sebring, according to an affidavit released by the Highland County Sheriff's Office.

He barricaded himself inside and when negotiations failed, the SWAT team burst in, capturing Xaver and discovering the bodies, police said.

SWAT team members then entered the bank and took Xaver into custody.

Xaver made his call to police shortly after 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, officials said.

'Perhaps most unfortunate is that now we refer to them as victims of a senseless crime'.

Xaver refused to surrender and would not allow officers to reach the victims, Hoglund said. It was not clear whether anyone was wounded.


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at the press conference, "This is a awful day for Sebring, Highlands County and for the state of Florida".

A spokeswoman for the bank, Sue Mallino, said: "We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch".

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, centre, gestures as he speaks during a news conference alongside Sebring police chief Karl Hoglund, left, and Highlands County sheriff Paul Blackman, right.

Xaver was employed as a correctional officer trainee at Avon Park Correctional Institution and resigned two weeks ago, according to Patrick Manderfield, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.

"Our focus is on helping the family members of the victims of this horrific attack receive the support they need in this extremely hard time", Moody said in a statement. In an interview with Indiana TV station WSBT, a woman who said she is Xaver's ex-girlfriend described him as "fascinated with death and guns".

While authorities have not released information regarding the shooter's motive, a woman who identified herself as his former girlfriend told a television station that Xaver had always been fascinated with the idea of killing.

Sebring Mayor John Shoop said in a statement that the killings weigh heavily on the central Florida town, which has about 10,000 year-round residents.


The robber barricaded himself in the SunTrust bank in Sebring area of the U.S. state. Public records and neighbours say he and his mother moved to Sebring in the fall from Plymouth, Indiana, a town south of Notre Dame University.

Law enforcement officers speak at the scene outside the bank. The suspect, she said, is "just very quiet".

Xaver lived in a non-descript pre-fabricated home about four miles from the bank.

As NPR has reported, Zephen Xaver was an online student of Utah-based Stevens-Henager College from September until December 2018, when he withdrew.

"This is an individual who needs to face very swift and exacting justice".

SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers said company officials "are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting" at the branch.

"For us - I have some family in Las Vegas, where there was that big shooting, and they said, 'We're sorry to welcome you to our club, '" Elwell said Wednesday, referring to a 2017 shooting that killed 59 people.


The bank's "entire team mourns this awful loss", he said.

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