Sunday, 24 March, 2019


At least five killed in Florida bank shooting and gunman, 21, arrested

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Bennie Garza | 26 January, 2019, 13:12

Zephen Xaver, 21, started the rampage at about 12:30 p.m.at SunTrust Bank in Sebring before calling 911 on himself and taking hostages, causing law enforcement to descend on the building, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said.

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

A Facebook profile, which contains a photo similar to the suspect makes a reference of Xaver as (once) living in Bremen and being from Plymouth, according to WNDU.

SunTrust released a statement to PEOPLE saying: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting at our Sebring, Florida branch this afternoon". "We've suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime".

Investigators have not identified the fifth victim, withholding that information as a result of the recent passing of Marsy's Law, which gave more privacy rights to the victims of crimes or their families. It was not clear whether anyone was wounded.

On Twitter, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote: "This is a bad day for Sebring, Highlands County and for the state of Florida".

Davis said she looked out her window and saw police officers everywhere, many carrying rifles. Xaver has no apparent ties to the bank or the victims. He had no disciplinary issues during that time, the department said.

Another news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday. The friend said Xaver had messaged her late Tuesday night and she now fears he was reaching out for help. "He's had his troubles, but he has never hurt anyone ever before".

Officers from Sebring Police Department and the Highlands Sheriff's Office arrived about two minutes later and secured the area.

Inside, Sparks saw several people lying on the floor, facedown and side by side, he said.

Authorities did not say if anyone else was injured, what motivated the mass shooting, what weapon was used or what charges Xaver faces.

The superintendent of a northern IN school district says a man accused of fatally shooting five people inside a Florida bank branch attended classes there for portions of two school years several years ago. By then, all five victims had died, Hoglund said. For some reason, he "always hated people and wanted everybody to die", Gerlach told WSBT-TV in South Bend, Indiana.

While in Florida, Xaver worked as a correctional officer trainee at Avon Park Correctional Institution, Florida Department of Corrections spokesman Patrick Manderfield said.

The 38-year-old mother of seven was working at the bank when shots were fired, WTSP says.

Xaver has no apparent criminal record in the areas where he's lived in IN and Florida, and his school records are spotty: Two school districts in northern in said he attended for several years but did not graduate. Hoglund identified one of the bank employee victims as Marisol Lopez, 55, but said family members of the other three did not want the names of their loved ones released.

Mayor John Shoop, the community president of CenterState Bank in Highlands, echoed: "Our hearts go out to the individuals that lost their lives and to all their family, friends and co-workers". A spokesperson for the college, Sherrie Martin, confirmed that Xaver was enrolled from September 2018 until December, when he withdrew.

White told The Associated Press that Xaver did not graduate from the school after attending classes there during what would have been his senior year. "We are grateful for our law enforcement officials who brought this incident to an end before more people lost their lives".

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