Motive in Florida bank shooting unknown, police say

Zephen Xaver, 21, arrested after standoff inside SunTrust branch

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist, Associated Press

SEBRING, Fla. - Sebring police said they don't yet know the motive behind the 21-year-old accused of gunning down five women in a SunTrust bank.

Sebring police Chief Karl Hoglund said the suspected shooter, Zephen Xaver, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at the SunTrust Bank branch on U.S. 27 South. Xaver, of Sebring, is accused of killing four bank employees and one customer, all were women.

The Florida town is about two hours south of Kissimmee.

Hoglund said Xaver "overtook the bank by force. He then shot everyone in the bank." And "after shooting them, he called 911" and "told dispatchers that he'd killed everyone in the bank."

The Highlands County Sheriff's Office SWAT team entered the bank to continue the negotiations, and the man eventually surrendered. Hogland said after SWAT entered the bank they found the five shooting victims. According to a statement from Sebring police, only five people were in the bank at the time of the shooting.

"I know he surrendered peacefully, he did not put up a fight, he was taken into custody in handcuffs," Sebring police Cmdr. Curtis Hart said.

Police didn't say what charges Xaver would face or indicate a motive. The chief said the shooter had no apparent connection to the women or the bank.

"I don't know what his true intent was," Hogland said.

Unlike many shootings where a motive is never determined because the suspect is killed or commits suicide authorities will be able to possibly determine a motive. About 70 percent of active shooter incidents end with the suspect’s death.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.