5 Dead In Florida Bank Robbery Authorities Say

UPDATE: 5 people have been confirmed dead. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Sebring resident Zephen Xaver, who is now in custody.

Zephen Xaver

Officials in Sebring, Florida say an incident that may have been a possible bank robbery left "several people down" on Wednesday afternoon.  

Multiple media outlets report that at least five people have been injured, but there is no word on the severity of their condition. 

The incident began after an armed individual inside a SunTrust Bank in central Florida called police around 12:36 p.m. local time on Wednesday and told them that he had fired shots inside the bank, authorities said.

"The situation is confined to the bank, and there is no danger to the surrounding area," Sebring police said.


The Sebring Police Department along with the Highlands County Sheriff's Office SWAT, K-9 and Sheriff Paul Blackman responded to the scene, establishing a perimeter around the bank, authorities said.  Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell said that multiple people had been shot in a "hostage situation." 

Businesses near the SunTrust bank were temporarily placed on lockdown, which also included a nearby Kindergarten Learning Center and elementary school. 

"The FBI is in coordination with local law enforcement agencies regarding a shooting at a Sun Trust Bank branch in Sebring, Florida," the FBI wrote in a statement.

The individual eventually surrendered following negotiations with police, officials said. A press conference updating people on the incident has been scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

"Getting more information now — none of it is good," County Commissioner Don Elwell wrote on his Facebook page. "I will defer to the HCSO and our county PIO once all things become official. Will of course share here afterwards.

Sue Mallino, chief communications officer for SunTrust Banks Inc., told the Highlands News-Sun that, "We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch.  We will provide more information as soon as we can."



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