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Sebring, Florida, bank shooting: what we know

Five people were killed at a SunTrust bank branch, and a 21-year-old suspect is in custody.

A Highlands County Sheriff SWAT vehicle stationed in front of a SunTrust Bank branch, on January 23, 2019, in Sebring, Florida.
Chris O’Meara/AP
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

As of Thursday morning, this article is no longer being updated. For continuing coverage on gun violence, check out Vox’s gun violence section.

Five people were killed Wednesday after a gunman barricaded himself inside a SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida, local law enforcement confirmed.

One suspect, 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, is in custody after surrendering to a SWAT team inside the bank, according to police.

What we know

  • Five people were killed after a suspect barricaded himself inside a SunTrust bank branch in Sebring, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon. Police said only five people were inside the bank at the time of the shooting. The victims have not been identified, and it’s unclear if they were bank employees or customers, according to Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman.
  • Authorities from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and the Sebring Police Department responded to the scene after a man called and said he had fired shots inside the bank branch. Authorities received the call shortly after 12:30 pm on Wednesday, according to Blackman’s office.
  • The suspect barricaded himself in the bank, but attempts to negotiate and get him out of the building failed. Eventually, SWAT teams entered the building to continue negotiations, and the suspect surrendered, according to the sheriff’s office.
  • The suspect is in custody and has been identified as 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said at a press conference on Wednesday.
  • Police have not identified a motive for the shooting. Xaver, a resident of Sebring, started work in November as a trainee prison guard at Avon Park Correctional Institution in Florida but resigned two weeks ago. He is currently charged with five counts of first-degree murder, reports the New York Times.

What we don’t know

  • The suspect’s motive
  • The identity of the victims