Suspect in SunTrust bank shooting in Florida faces death penalty

A grand jury indicted Zephen Xaver on five counts of first-degree murder, Florida Attorney General Brian Haas announced Friday.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Doha Madani

The suspected gunman who opened fire into a Florida bank last month will face the death penalty if convicted on murder charges.

Zephen Xaver, 21, was indicted by a grand jury on five counts of first-degree murder, Brian Haas, state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, said Friday. Prosecutors have chosen to pursue the death penalty against Xaver after he allegedly killed five women in a SunTrust bank branch in Sebring, Florida on Jan. 23.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

"In this case, after carefully analyzing the facts as I know them today and applying the law, I was left w/ the unquestionable conclusion that I must seek the death penalty against the defendant," Haas said.

He will be arraigned on Feb. 25, Haas said.

Zephen Xaver, 21, who was charged with five counts of premeditated murder in the shooting deaths of the four bank employees and a customer in Sebring, Florida.Highlands County Sheriff's Office via AP

Xaver, who wore a T-shirt depicting the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse when he entered the bank, was in a standoff with police after he allegedly killed the women inside the bank location then called authorities. A SWAT team eventually stormed the bank about two hours later.

Four of the victims in the shooting were bank employees and the fifth victim was a customer.

Authorities have yet to release a motive for the shooting.

Xaver was hired by the Avon Park Correctional Institution as a trainee in November and resigned two weeks prior to the shooting, on Jan. 9, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He had no disciplinary issues during that time, the department said.

CORRECTION (Feb. 11, 2019, 10:53 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated Brian Haas' position in Florida. He is the state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, not the state's attorney general.