State attorney will seek death penalty against Florida bank shooting suspect

Grand jury indicts Zephen Xaver, 21, on 5 counts of premeditated murder

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

SEBRING, Fla. - The Florida state attorney handling the SunTrust Bank shooting prosecution said he will seek the death penalty against the 21-year-old suspect accused of gunning down five women.

Four SunTrust employees and a customer were fatally shot Jan. 23 in the Sebring bank's lobby. After a standoff, police said Zephen Xaver, 21, was arrested. A motive for the shooting is not known.

On Friday, a grand jury indicted Xaver on five counts of premeditated murder.

State Attorney Brian Haas said he has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Xaver in the 10th Judicial Circuit Court.

"This is a major accomplishment on behalf of finding justice on behalf of our victims and on behalf of our community," Sebring police Chief Karl Hoglund said.

Haas said the decision to seek death was made after careful consideration.

"I must seek the death penalty against the defendant," Haas said, adding there was no hesitation after reviewing the "horror of the situation" and discussing the punishment with the victims' families.

Xaver will be arraigned on Feb. 25.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.