Police: At least 5 people killed inside Florida bank, suspect arrested

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A gunman killed at least five people on Wednesday in a SunTrust Bank in south-central Florida, Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said.

The suspect called authorities to say he had entered the bank in Sebring and began shooting, Hoglund said. The suspect, who was identified as Zephen Xaver, 21, of Sebring, is in custody, authorities said.

“We’ve suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime,” Hoglund said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if those shot were bank employees or customers. The victims have not yet been identified and family notifications have not yet been made, according to Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said.

“This is a terrible day for Sebring, Highlands County and for the state of Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

The incident began with the phone call to authorities from the suspect around 12:36 p.m. He said he had fired shots inside the bank, according to police. Sebring Police and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene.

Initial negotiations to try to get the barricaded suspect to leave the bank were not successful, so a SWAT team entered the bank and continued negotiations.

The suspect eventually surrendered to the SWAT team, police said.

The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are assisting in the case.

SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers said company officials “are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting” at the branch.

“We are working with officials and dedicating ourselves to fully addressing the needs of all the individuals and families involved. Our entire team mourns this terrible loss,” Rogers said in the statement.

Sebring, which is in Highlands County, had a population of just over 10,000 people as of the 2010 US Census. The SunTrust Bank is along US-27, between Lake Jackson and Little Lake Jackson.

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