New Details About Zephen Xaver, The Florida Bank Shooter Who Killed Five Women

Photo: Highlands County Sheriff's Office
Who Is Zephen Xaver? New Details Florida Bank Shooter Murdered Five People

Details about the Florida bank shooter and his life show a man who was on the edge and capable of violence.

Zephen Xaver, 21, is accused of shooting five women at a SunTrust bank in Sebring, Fla., on Wednesday. He has been charged with five counts of premeditated homicide in the first degree.

According to Sebring police, Xaver called 911 around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to report that he had opened fire inside the bank located on US-27 South, killing five. When a SWAT team arrived, the suspected shooter surrendered. 


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

Investigators have not released a motive and say Xaver has no connection to the victims he allegedly shot and killed.

Here is what we know about the Florida SunTrust bank mass shooting suspect:


1. He is from Indiana. 

Xaver and his mother moved to Sebring from Plymouth, Ind., in the fall. His family, including his father, still live in Indiana.

2. He dreamed of hurting people.

Highlands County Sheriff's Office

According to CNN, Xaver told a school counselor at Bremen High School that "he had a dream last night of killing students in a classroom." The then-16-year-old was taken to a behavioral health center in February 2014 and the case was closed. 

Xaver's ex-girlfriend, Alex Gerlach, told WSBT that he “always hated people and wanted everybody to die." 

“He got kicked out of school for having a dream that he killed everybody in his class, and he’s been threatening this for so long, and he’s been having dreams about it and everything,” she said. “Every single person I’ve told has not taken it seriously, and it’s very unfortunate that it had to come to this.”

3. He recently bought a gun.

Gerlach said Xaver was "fascinated with death and guns," WSBT reported. She didn't bat an eye when he sent her a photo of a handgun he purchased recently because he had always loved guns. 

4. He was not active on social media.

Xaver reportedly kept a low profile on social media, USA Today reported.

He had two Facebook pages, which has since been taken down. One said he lived in Florida, had a single photo of Xaver, and listed nine friends. Another, apparently set up when he lived in Indiana, showed a photo of a Grim Reaper with the saying, "God is busy right now... can I help you?" Xaver had 334 friends on that account, which said he lives in Bremen, Ind. 

An Instagram account under his name had 38 followers. 


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5. He quit his job earlier this month. 

Fox 35

Xaver was hired by Avon Park Correctional Institution as a prison guard trainee on Nov. 2 and resigned from the position on Jan. 9, state officials confirmed. He "had no discipline while employed with the department," Patrick Manderfield, a spokesperson for the agency, told USA Today. Xaver gave no explanation for his resignation.

6. He had previous U.S. Army training.

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According to ABC News, The Army said Xaver had participated in training with the U.S. military branch in 2016 but had not finished the program. He was not awarded a military occupational specialty.

7. Authorities believe the shooting was a "random act."

"We believe that it is a random act. We do not believe anybody was specifically targeted,” said Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund. It is unclear why Xaver chose the SunTrust bank to carry out the shooting.

8. His father said he was not "raised to be like this."

Xaver's father, Josh Xaver, who still lives in Indiana, told CNN he is "heartbroken for the victims" and did not expect something like this from his son.

"He wasn't raised to be like this. He's always been a good kid. He's had his troubles," he told the news outlet over the phone. "But he has never hurt anyone ever before. This is a total shock."


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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.