Details about the deadly Florida bank mass shooting suspect are beginning to emerge, revealing that the alleged gunman showed warning signs that he may be capable of violence.
As previously reported by CrimeOnline, 21-year-old Zephen Xaver allegedly called authorities on himself after opening fire at SunTrust Bank at about 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
After barricading himself in the building when officials arrived, he eventually surrendered, police said.
This is what we know about Zephen Xaver, suspect in the SunTrust bank shooting that left 5 dead. https://t.co/sh7VrEX9b7 pic.twitter.com/NaaNMu2VYz
— USA TODAY Video (@usatodayvideo) January 24, 2019
The Associated Press reported that Zephen resided with his mother in Sebring, after moving from his hometown of Plymouth, Indiana sometime last fall.
According to records obtained by the media outlet, Xaver began working as a prison guard trainee at Avon Park Correctional Institution in early November, but left the job for unknown reasons just over two months later. There were no reported disciplinary measures taken regarding the brief employment stint.
A woman who identified herself as the suspect’s ex-girlfriend, Alex Gerlach, told WSBT that Xaver was “fascinated with death and guns.” She said she dated the man “on-and-off” for a couple of years. While the two had since broken up, she said she still communicated with him “every few months since.”
Bank shooting suspect "hated people and wanted everybody to die." Woman who says Zephen Xaver was her boyfriend says she tried to warn others of his potential for deadly violence. https://t.co/lxTXHLEUet
— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) January 24, 2019
In an statement to the news station, Gerlach spoke of the suspect being kicked out of school after having a disconcerting dream that he presumably spoke about. She also said he recently sent her a photo featuring a firearm, though “she never thought anything of it.”
“I never understood where it started,” Gerlach said. “For some reason [he] always hated people and wanted everyone to die. He got kicked out of school for having a dream that he killed everybody in his class.”
While it isn’t clear what school the suspect may have been expelled from, Bremen Public Schools, where Xaver reportedly attended high school, released a statement to the news station.
“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.
A woman who said she is a friend of the suspect’s family, Sharon Spillane, described Xaver as being seemingly “normal” to WFLA.
“He’s very normal,” she said.
“He’s definitely a normal person. I would have never in a million years thought anything like this would have ever happened.”
Spillane said she has “had barbeques” with the family and described Xaver’s family as also being “very normal.”
A motive in the alleged horrifying killing spree remains unclear, according to Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman.
“I have been in law enforcement all of my adult life and this horrific incident shocks and angers me more than anything I have encountered in my career,” Blackman said in a statement, according to
‘While we still don’t know what drove the suspect to commit this heinous act, there is no excuse that can justify the cold-blooded murder of multiple victims.’
The victims in the incident have were not identified by authorities at the time of reporting.
This is a developing story. Check back with CrimeOnline for the latest updates.
[Feature photo: Zephen Xaver/Highland County Sheriff’s Office]