February 23, 2019
5 dead in Sebring bank shooting, suspect in custody
 
 
By Jeff Tavss
 

At least five people were killed after a man, later identified as Zephen Xaver, opened fire inside a Sebring bank.

Sebring Police confirmed the 21-year-old suspect entered the SunTrust bank location in Highlands County before firing his weapon.

"We’re sorry to learn that we have at least five victims," said Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund. "People that were senselessly murdered."

Officials say Xaver, a Sebring resident, called 911 at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, claiming he had fired shots inside the bank.

Authorties attempted to negotiate with Xaver, but they proved unsuccesful. After SWAT teams entered the bank, Xaver surrendered.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Xaver was hired as a correctional officer trainee in November, but he resigned on Jan. 9. Xaver had no discipline problems while he was employed, the department said.

Sharon Spillane, Xaver's next door neighbor, was shocked when she heard he had been arrested.

"He's just a normal, quiet, polite 21 year old, and this just has me shocked," Spillane said

Gov. Ron DeSantis was at the Highlands County Sheriff's Office and spoke to the media before the police update.

"I've asked FDLE to provide whatever resources, that we can at the state level to assist with the investigation," DeSantis said. "Obviously this is an indviudal that needs to face very swift and exacting justice."

Sebring is 170 miles northwest of Miami.

SunTrust released a statement following the events that occured at their branch.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting at our Sebring, Florida branch this afternoon." said Bill Rogers, SunTrust Chairman and CEO. "We are working with officials and dedicating ourselves to fully addressing the needs of all the individuals and families involved.  Our entire team mourns this terrible loss."