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Marshall County native arrested in deadly Florida bank shooting

SEBRING, Fla. (AP/ABC57) — A gunman who grew up in Marshall County, Indiana opened fire inside a Florida bank Wednesday, killing five people before surrendering to a SWAT team, according to Sebring Police.

Authorities identified the suspect as 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, who lists Bremen as his hometown on his Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.

Bremen Public Schools confirmed he attended Bremen High School.

Bremen Public Schools released the following statement:

First, it is imperative that we state our sincere condolences to the friends, family members, and others impacted by the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Sebring, Florida.  Such events are a sobering reminder of how quickly a tragedy can befall upon any community.

Regarding specific requests concerning Mr. Xaver, pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) we can only confirm that he was a student at Bremen High School during a small segment of the 2012-2013 and returned for a brief period during the 2013-2014 academic school year.  

Again, our deepest condolences to those impacted by this tragic event.

Xaver called police himself to report that he had fired shots inside the bank in Sebring, about 80 miles southeast of Tampa. Negotiations failed to persuade him to leave the building. The SWAT team then entered the bank, and Xaver, who had barricaded himself inside, eventually gave up and was arrested without incident police said.

"Today's been a tragic day in our community," Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said during a news conference. "We've suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime."

Xaver briefly was an online student of Salt Lake City-based Stevens-Henager College. A spokeswoman for the college, Sherrie Martin, confirmed that Xaver was enrolled from September 2018 until December, when he withdrew. She said current his residence was listed as Sebring, FL.

Investigators did not offer any potential motive, and a police spokesman said he did not know if the attack began as a robbery. The dead were not immediately identified.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in the region for an infrastructure tour and traveled to Sebring after the shooting. He said the

Florida Department of Law Enforcement would assist Sebring Police and the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

"Obviously, this is an individual who needs to face very swift and exacting justice," DeSantis said of the suspect.

An FBI mobile command unit arrived at the bank Wednesday evening to join the investigation.

SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers released a statement saying the bank was "working with officials and dedicating ourselves to fully addressing the needs of all the individuals and families involved."

The bank's "entire team mourns this terrible loss," he said.

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