Friday 15 February 2019

Gunman killed five people in bank in central Florida before calling police himself - reports

The incident occurred in Florida (Ian West/PA)
The incident occurred in Florida (Ian West/PA)

Gina Cherelus

A gunman killed five people in a bank in central Florida on Wednesday, then called police himself and eventually surrendered, local authorities said.

The shooting occurred at the SunTrust Bank in Sebring, a town of about 10,000 people 95 miles south of Orlando, around 12:30 pm ET (1730pm GMT), Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said at a news conference.

The 21-year-old suspect, identified as Zephen Xaver, called police and said he had fired shots inside the bank, according to authorities.

After negotiators failed to convince the suspect to leave the bank, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office SWAT team entered the building and continued to talk to him, police said.

He eventually surrendered and is in custody. Police did not offer any details about a possible motive.

"Today has been a tragic day in our community," Hoglund said. "We've suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime."

No information has been released about the victims. It was not clear whether anyone was wounded.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he has asked the state's department of law enforcement to assist local police officials in the investigation.

A spokeswoman for the bank, Sue Mallino, said, "We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch."

Reuters

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