WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Five people, all women, were killed execution-style by a gunman who opened fire in a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida, on Wednesday, authorities said.
- The suspect, Zephan Xaver, 21, called 911 confessing that he shot five people before surrendering to authorities.
- In a television interview, his ex-girlfriend said that Xaver “has long been fascinated with the idea of killing.”
Zephan Xaver has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder for fatally shooting five people inside a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida, on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old called 911 while inside the bank and told the dispatchers, “I have shot five people,” according to a joint statement released by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office and Sebring Police Department.
Xaver barricaded himself inside the bank when the officers arrived at the scene. When negotiations failed, a SWAT team was sent in. The police said the negotiations continued and the “suspect eventually surrendered.”
All five people Xaver killed were women — four were bank employees and one was a customer identified as Cynthia Watson. Another victim was identified as Marisol Lopez, an employee. The names of the other three bank employees were withheld at the request of the victims’ families.
The police said they found the five victims lying face down with gunshot wounds in the back of their heads.
“Unfortunately, all victims had succumbed to their injuries inside the bank,” Police Chief Karl Hoglund told reporters.
A woman who identified herself as Xaver’s former girlfriend said that he “always hated people and wanted everybody to die.
“He got kicked out of school for having a dream that he killed everybody in his class, and he’s been threatening this for so long, and he’s been having dreams about it and everything,” Alex Gerlach told WSBT-TV in South Bend, Indiana.
“Every single person I’ve told has not taken it seriously, and it’s very unfortunate that it had to come to this,” Gerlach said shortly after the mass shooting in Sebring.
Xaver is a former prison guard trainee at Avon Park Correctional Institution but he resigned on Jan. 9, the Florida Department of Corrections said. He had no record of disciplinary incidents while on training.
Authorities said they don’t know what the motive yet and how long he had been planning the attack.
Source: The Guardian