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'Sebring Strong:' City holds vigil for women slain at Florida bank

Zephen Xaver, 21, faces 5 counts of premeditated murder

SEBRING, Fla. – Residents of a small Florida city held a vigil Sunday to honor five women who were killed in a mass shooting at a bank.

People lit flashlights and cellphones instead of candles to honor the victims of the SunTrust shooting in Sebring.

Heavy rains pushed the vigil to an indoor location and prompted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to scrap plans to attend.

Photos of four of the victims were framed together and stood on an easel among funeral wreaths and next to a banner that read "Sebring Strong."

Four SunTrust employees and a customer were fatally shot Wednesday in the bank's lobby. After a standoff, police say, Zephen Xaver, 21, was arrested and is facing five counts of premeditated murder. The motive for the shooting is not known.

State Attorney Brian Haas has said it is likely that he will seek the death penalty.

SunTrust spokesman Michael McCoy told media the bank has decided not to reopen the branch that came under attack after hearing from families.

Meanwhile, SunTrust has established a fund to offer financial support to the families of the victims.

In a statement Monday, SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers said the outpouring of support for the victims' families "has demonstrated the best of humanity in a time of tragedy."

The Sebring Strong Survivors Fund is a partnership between the SunTrust Foundation and the National Compassion Fund, a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime.

 

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