Ex-Girlfriend: Florida Suspect 'Wanted Everyone to Die'

A neighbor says he'd hear Zephen Xaver screaming at night
By Marcel Wiel,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2019 11:10 AM CST
Ex-Girlfriend: Florida Suspect 'Fascinated With Death, Guns'
Zephen Xaver.   (Highlands County Sheriff's Office via AP)

As Florida police attempt to piece together the events that led to a fatal shooting at a SunTrust bank on Wednesday, facts are slowly emerging about the suspected gunman. Per WSBT, Zephen Xaver, 21, who appeared in court Thursday, is accused of opening fire inside the Sebring bank after a standoff with a SWAT team. The station also quotes Alex Gerlach, who says she stayed in touch with Xaver after their two-year, on-off relationship ended. She says he was "fascinated with death and guns," adding: "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."

Despite this, Xaver got a job as a trainee prison guard at Avon Park Correctional Institution on Nov. 2, though he suddenly quit just over two months later, per Florida Department of Corrections records. He'd enrolled in an online course at Stevens-Henager College in Salt Lake City in September 2018, but dropped out four months later, according to a college spokesperson. Neighbors say Xaver and his mother relocated to Sebring last autumn from Plymouth, Ind., settling into a prefab housing unit some 4 miles from the bank. Neighbor John Larose said Xaver was generally reserved, but late at night could be heard screaming at video games. Xaver was denied bail by 10th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Anthony Ritenour and stands accused of five counts of premeditated murder. (More shooting stories.)

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