5 Murdered In Mass Shooting At SunTrust Bank; Gunman Identified

Police said 21-year-old Zephen Xaver of Sebring murdered at least five people inside the SunTrust bank on US-7 South.

Sebring, FL – Five people were gunned down in a SunTrust bank in Sebring Florida on Wednesday.

Authorities held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to release a few details about the horrific mass shooting at the SunTrust bank in Highlands County.

Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund told reporters that five people were dead inside the bank located on US-7 South.

“After an assessment of the scene we were sorry to learn that we have at least five victims, people who were senselessly murdered as a result of his act in this bank,” Chief Hoglund said.

No information about the identities of the people who were murdered was released.

Chief Hoglund said the identification of the victims was not complete, and that police were still processing the crime scene and have not yet notified all of the families.

But the chief did identify their alleged killer.

He said that Zephen Xaver, 21, was taken into custody when the Highlands County SWAT Team breached the bank after negotiations failed.

Chief Hoglund said that Xaver lives in Sebring, but said he had no other information about the gunman.

The incident started around 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 when a man called 911 to report that he had fired shots inside the bank, according to WFLA.

The town of Sebring is located about 2 hours south of Orlando.

Sebring police and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and set up a perimeter.

The suspect was reportedly barricaded in the bank and had been holding hostages, WFLA reported.

The Highlands County SWAT Team established communications with the suspect and began negotiating with him.

“Negotiations continued – we did breach in the bank with the Highlands County SWAT Team. At that point the subject did give up,” Sebring Police Commander Curtis Hart told reporters.

At the press conference, Chief Hoglund offered more details of the timeline.

“While engaged in negotiations… I asked the sheriff to send in the tactical unit of their SWAT team in an attempt to recover potential victims and take the suspect into custody,” Chief Hoglund told reporters.

Then paramedics who had been staged just outside the bank with stretchers rushed into the building through the glass entrance that had been destroyed to care for victims, CNN reported.

Witnesses reported seeing the stretchers being brought out empty a short while later.

The sheriff's office has asked families of anybody that was inside the bank at the time of the shooting spree to go to the Inn on the Lakes on Gulfview Road for more information.

Newly-elected Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was on hand at the press conference to offer his support to the community.

“This is a terrible day for Sebring, Highlands County, and for the state of Florida,” the governor said. “Obviously, this is an individual who needs to face very swift and exacting justice.”

SunTrust bank released a statement after the gunman was in custody.

"We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected," SunTrust Chief Communications Officer Sue Mallino said. "We will provide more information as soon as we can."

Officials took no questions at the press conference but Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman told reporters another press conference was planned for Thursday morning at 11 a.m.

The sheriff’s office will continue to assist the Sebring Police Department with the investigation, Sheriff Blackman said.

Comments
No. 1-8
pbm4jc
pbm4jc

Florida again?

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Cases like this are perfect cases for immediate enforcement of the death penalty!!! There's evidence he's 100% guilty so there's no need years in prison and appeals!!! Take his sorry ass out back and put a bullet in his head!!! He's a f--king waste of oxygen!!!

ffangel4u
ffangel4u

My brother served with HCSD over 20+ years. This department is one of the best in central Florida. Just last year, Deputy William Gentry. I know they were trying to preserve life if they could. I have no questions or qualms about it. This thug will be under the prison after all is said and done. For those of you who question why this prick is still alive? He was a coward and didn't want to die. That's why he called 911 to let them know what he had done.

MrsS
MrsS

They've now changed the mug shot. Still hispanic, but not the same guy. I guess they made a mistake?

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

5 dead?!!! Wish he had been #6 sorry