Bank Shooting Ends with Five Female Victims: Were There Some Warning Signs?

A bank shooting in Florida ends with five female victims. The suspect was described as nonviolent by a former acquaintance. Is there more to this tragedy?


Five women were killed following a recent hostage situation at a branch of the SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida.

The tragedy happened at noon on Wednesday when the 21-year-old perpetrator, Zephen Xaver, entered the institution armed with a gun and took the women as hostages.

Xaver first insisted that the women had to lie down on the floor at the lobby of the bank and then quickly ended their lives by shooting each in the head.

The killings took him no more than 6 minutes, after which he dialed 911 at 12:36 p.m. and confessed to what he had just done.

What followed was one hour of negotiations between the authorities and the 21-year-old.

However, according to the chief of police, Karl Hoglund, he and his colleagues came to the realization that Xaver did not intend to let the hostages go and a SWAT team was sent in.

Any hopes for the survival of the five women disappeared fast after the policemen found their bodies lying face down on the ground and some shell casings of a 9 mm handgun. The attacker was cornered in the back of the building.

So far, it remains unclear why Xaver resorted to his acts or how long it took him to plan his assault. Two of the victims were identified the following day: Cynthia Watson, a customer and Marisol Lopez -- a bank employee.

The names of the other women remained confidential for a little while due to the wishes of their families.

According to State Attorney, Brian Haas, he would try to fight for the most serious possible penalty for Xaver in court, which in Florida is the death sentence.

Xaver was a football player and wrestler in high school. A former teammate named Jake Dewar revealed: "He was not a violent guy. He was respectful, nice and intelligent from what I saw. He never really had a group of people he hung out with."

The SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida will not reopen after this tragedy.

Officials had this to say about the decision, "After hearing the views of the families and teammates, SunTrust has decided that it will not reopen the Sebring Midtown branch location."

Do you think the killer had ulterior motives?