Gunman kills 5 at Florida bank, surrenders to police after hostage standoff
At least five people were killed when a man opened fire in a SunTrust bank in central Florida. The suspect surrendered after a standoff with multiple SWAT teams.
The man reportedly called 911 to report he had fired shots into the SunTrust Bank in Sebring. Highland County Sheriff’s Department officers arrived at the scene to find the man barricaded inside with multiple hostages.
After prolonged negotiations which failed to lure the gunman outside, SWAT teams entered the bank and convinced him to surrender, according to the Sebring Police and Highland County Sheriff's Department.
SEBRING POLICE: Responded to SunTrust Bank around 12:30pm after a man said he fired off a gun & took on hostages. The suspect eventually surrendered w/ officers now saying there is no danger. Still working to learn how many victims involved. @WPBF25News credit: highlands news sun pic.twitter.com/An8uY7jT7G— Anthony Kustura (@anthonykustura) January 23, 2019
Authorities identified the gunman as 21-year-old Zephen Xaver in a news conference at the Highlands County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday afternoon. He is currently in police custody. The Sebring Police Department said they are not aware of his motive. The investigation remains active.
I will be at the press conference at @HighCoSheriff Office at 4:30 p.m. EST to provide updates on the tragic shooting that occured earlier today. Please continue to keep the victims and their families in your prayers. https://t.co/Cxx5LOPEr1— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 23, 2019
“Today’s been a tragic day in our community,” said Sebring police chief Karl Hoglund. “We’ve suffered a significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime.”
“The people of Florida stand with the community here in light of this tragic circumstance,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference. "Obviously, this is an individual that needs to face very swift and exacting justice."
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