MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

5 Dead in Florida Bank Shooting

Police have identified a suspect.

YouTube Screenshot via CBS NewsYouTube Screenshot via CBS NewsPolice in Florida say a gunman opened fire in a bank earlier today, killing at least five people.

The shooting occurred at a SunTrust Bank branch in Sebring. The suspect, who Sebring police have identified as 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, allegedly barricaded himself inside the bank and took hostages, according to ABC News.

"A subject contacted dispatch and reported that he had fired shots inside the bank," The Sebring Police Department wrote on Facebook. "SPD officers and deputies from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and established a perimeter." Efforts to negotiate with the suspect were unsuccessful, police said. As a result, "the HCSO SWAT team entered the bank and continued the negotiations. The suspect eventually surrendered to the HCSO SWAT team," the post read. He is currently in custody.

"After an assessment of the scene we were sorry to learn that we have at least five victims, people who were senselessly murdered as a result of his act in this bank," Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund told reporters at a press conference today. The victims' identities have yet to be released.

Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot via CBS News

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Attica! Attica! Attica!

  • Don't look at me!||

    Guy needs to be hung.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The inhumanity of that is worse than him killing the five people in cold blood.

  • Don't look at me!||

    You have to convince 5 families, not me.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    No, I don't. I just need to convince a legislature or a judge.

  • SIV||

    Then they should be hung too. The State should not have a monopoly on retributive violence.

  • ThomasD||

    As compared to the inhumanity of life imprisonment?

    Yes, the inhumanity of death row is almost as bad, but that is correctable. Especially so in this sort of situation, where the perpetrator is caught at the scene of the crime and where it is likely there will be strong forensic and video evidence establishing his guilt.

    In that case, where guilt is all but a metaphysical certainty, death row should not be a long stay.

  • Juice||

    Guy needs to be hung.

    If he were, maybe he wouldn't have been so uptight.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||


    "They said you was hung."

    "And they was right"

    It's twue, IT'S TWUE!

  • DenverJ||

    "Hanged"
    You hung a picture, you hanged a man.

  • Agammamon||

    You hang a picture, the picture was hung.

    You hang a man, the man was hung.

  • Ray McKigney||

    Nuh uuuuhhhh.

  • DenverJ||

    You might have hanged a man who was hung, but he was hanged by the neck until dead.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Only five?
    You'd think the cops would've shot some more people, like those fuckers who have the audacity to be exhaling without permission in the park.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Efforts to negotiate with the suspect were unsuccessful, police said. As a result, "the HCSO SWAT team entered the bank and continued the negotiations."

    What?

  • Jerryskids||

    The SWAT team entered the bank, shot 5 people and said "Look, asshole, see what we do to innocent civilians? You really want to fuck with us?" and the guy surrendered.

  • Jerryskids||

    Which still doesn't answer the question of why I'm reading this here. What has this got to do with libertarianism or free markets or the evils of government? Are we going to start seeing the viral video of the moment here, too?

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    It certainly supports the arguments of certain "libertarian" commenters (see: Hihn) that civilians should not be allowed to have any guns newer than flintlocks.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    According to Hihn the Magnanimous, criminals only carry guns to protect them from bank guards and cops.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Michael Hihn has been a dedicated libertarian activist for decades. His writing on gun safety legislation is one of the highlights of this comment section. It rivals Palin's Buttplug's economic analysis. Sadly Reason has a habit of banning its most valuable commenters.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    His writing on gun safety legislation ...rivals Palin's Buttplug's economic analysis

    And here I thought you liked the butt-plugger!

  • DenverJ||

    *snort

  • Wizard4169||

    Man, there for a minute I was thinking that OpenBordersLiberal-tarian was finally revealed as yet another Hihn sock. But that would require that Hihn have a sense of humor, so that theory is clearly incorrect.

  • ||

    It certainly supports the arguments of certain "libertarian" commenters (see: Hihn) that civilians should not be allowed to have any guns newer than flintlocks.

    It does? Those are ("libertarian" arguments)?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    All who question Hihn the Pious are cyberbullies and will be placed upon his list of damnation.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Except, apparently, me.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Mere mortals must not attempt to understand the motivations of Hihn the Truthful.

  • DenverJ||

    You know, I give Hihn shit almost everytime I see him, and I've yet to make the list.
    *kicks rock dejectedly*

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Yeah, questionable wording on my part.

    * Certain "libertarian" Reason writers and commenters (hi Mike! Add me to your enemies list?) think events such as these buoy their arguments that civilians should be disarmed of any firearm newer than a flintlock, and are keen to use the news as an opportunity to jump on their ("libertarian"-branded) soapboxes.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    He may be banned from commenting, but you know he's following this thread!

  • Sevo||

    "He may be banned from commenting, but you know he's following this thread!"

    Hihn hihnfected the 'immigration' thread earlier today with his hihnsanity,
    Some one here commented that at least he brought "ideas". Perhaps, but the signal/noise ratio is such that no one is going to waste time shoveling though the pile of shit in the hopes of finding a cogent thought.
    And if you did, it was likely a random arrangement of words on his part, like those 'fridge 'word magnets'.

  • Zeb||

    Which reason writer supports more gun restrictions? Looks to me like they are pretty solid on guns.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    I actually don't know. I just guessed because I can't think of any other reason this local story would be covered here.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    May be one of the commenters' moms was somehow involved.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Because we all know what's coming next.

  • Zeb||

    Yup.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Because we all know that the anti-gun animist zealots will use these 5 dead bodies as a soap box to push for MOAR GUN CONTROLZ like the simple minded morons they are. This is just reason's way of making sure we know what's coming so we're not caught off guard by shrieks soon to be coming from the gun grabbers.

  • Wizard4169||

    Look on the bright side. The grabbers' track record in recent years has been pretty lousy. They've notched up a few victories in the grabbiest of states, but fallen flat in other states and on the federal level.

  • DenverJ||

    Above the comments is:
    RELATED
    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Will Finally Lose His Job, Almost a Year After the Parkland Shooting
    Robby Soave|1.08.19

    Florida State Commission Recommends Arming Teachers to Keep Schools Safe
    Joe Setyon|1.03.19

    Broward Deputies Revise Active-Shooting Policy Following Parkland Flub
    Zuri Davis|12.28.18

    Mass Shootings Police Florida

  • DenverJ||

    Fucking squirrels can't even thread properly

  • DenverJ||

    Above the comments is:
    RELATED
    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Will Finally Lose His Job, Almost a Year After the Parkland Shooting
    Robby Soave|1.08.19

    Florida State Commission Recommends Arming Teachers to Keep Schools Safe
    Joe Setyon|1.03.19

    Broward Deputies Revise Active-Shooting Policy Following Parkland Flub
    Zuri Davis|12.28.18

    Mass Shootings Police Florida

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This was a bank robbery?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Doesn't look like it. From ABCs link in the article:

    "I have shot five people," Xaver allegedly told 911 dispatchers, according to a joint statement released by the Highland County Sheriff's Office and Sebring Police Department.

  • JeremyR||

    Okay, is Reason now covering local news?

  • SIV||

    Yes, apparently. See below.

  • DenverJ||

    Above the comments it says:
    RELATED
    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Will Finally Lose His Job, Almost a Year After the Parkland Shooting
    Robby Soave|1.08.19

    Florida State Commission Recommends Arming Teachers to Keep Schools Safe
    Joe Setyon|1.03.19

    Broward Deputies Revise Active-Shooting Policy Following Parkland Flub
    Zuri Davis|12.28.18

    Mass Shootings Police Florida

    So, apparently mass shooting in Florida is Reasons bailiwick now

  • SIV||

    I'm old enough to remember when this would have been a local news story that might have merited a one sentence paragraph from the wire service buried in section A of big city dailies outside of Florida.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, we've spent a week talking about a non-event at the Washington Mall. 24 hour news cycle is a bitch.

  • Fats of Fury||

    I'm not that old but the Saint Valentine's Day massacre only had 7 dead but made world wide headlines. I am old enough to remember that multiple dead from shootings always made national news.

  • SIV||

    That happened in Chicago, a major media market, and involved prominent organized crime figures.

    Some noody killing a bunch of people in a church, bar, workplace etc outside a major media market might warrant a brief article in the "national" section of a big city daily, prehaps a single paragraph or even one sentence in a smaller market daily. This kind of story wouldn't make the front page orrun over several days outside the area unless it was particularly newsworthy.

    Interestingly, some definitions of "mass shootings" exclude gang and domestic killings. Wikipedias criteria for listing them only finds 3 worthy of mentioning for the entire decade of the 1960s and none earlier

  • Fats of Fury||

    Back in the late sixties or early seventies there was a murder in Ohio. The killer was a mother who shot her husband and her children. Back then this was so out of the norm that all three networks ran half hour news specials after the 10/11 pm local news. They pre-empted the Tonight show and whatever the other two were running. This was before Nightline. They occasionally did this for disasters like airplane crashes. Today I can't find an online reference to it. The Sam Shepperd case in 1954 also made national news and there was only one victim.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Florida Man stories usually make the national news.

  • Bramblyspam||

    This becomes legitimate national news if it emerges that the cops shot five people and are now covering it up by blaming the hostage-taker. But that's a pretty big "if" at this point.

    The line about the SWAT team entering the premises and "continuing negotiations" does look suspicious, but given that the alleged perp is quoted as claiming responsibility for shooting five people, I'm inclined to accept the police version of the story unless/until it's proven false. In the meantime, I'm happy that body cams are becoming commonplace.

    Given that this happened at a bank, I imagine there's security camera footage of the whole episode.

  • DajjaI||

    ISIS?

  • DenverJ||

    Is is what?

  • Sevo||

    A leppo.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    A leppo walks into a bar....

  • Eddy||

    ...and tells the prostitute, "keep the tip."

  • DajjaI||

    Amish?

  • DenverJ||

    Amish my old girlfriend? Amish Rolling Rock beer? Amish Judge Napolitano's columns?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Good thing he wasn't wearing a MAGA hat.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/news/stat.....1719124981

  • Ray McKigney||

    What's the Free Minds and Free Markets connection?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Look at his name. He was probably an illegal immigrant!

  • Wizard4169||

    Nah, I say he snapped as the inevitable result of growing up named "Zephen Xaver". It's almost as bad as naming your kid after John Wayne. (Seriously, have you ever heard about anybody named John Wayne Anylastname making the news for something good?)

  • LiborCon||

    See? Gun Free Zones work.

    No one else was armed, so there was a reduced risk of stray bullets hitting innocent bystanders.

  • Exposing the Others||

    Not shootings again...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online