Five people have been killed in a hostage situation at a bank in Sebring in Florida. Picture: WFLA
Five people have been killed in a hostage situation at a bank in Sebring in Florida. Picture: WFLA

Five hostages shot dead at Florida bank

A GUNMAN has stormed a bank in Florida with reports at least five people have been killed.

The man entered the SunTrust Bank in Sebring in Florida on Wednesday. He barricaded himself inside of the building, entering into tense negotiations with police.

The gunman killed at least five people, according to Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund.

After entering the bank he reportedly fired multiple shots inside the building.

A man called police about 12.36pm saying he had heard shots fired inside the building. The calls were responded to by Sebring Police and Highlands County Sheriff's Office deputies.

Vision shows police and other emergency vehicles surrounding the SunTrust building.

Five people have been killed in hostage situation in Sebring in Florida. Picture: WFLA
Five people have been killed in hostage situation in Sebring in Florida. Picture: WFLA

Initial negotiations to try to get the man to exit the bank were not successful, so a SWAT team entered the bank and continued negotiations. The suspect eventually surrendered to the SWAT team, police said.

The suspect was arrested at the scene.

He has been identified as Zephen Xaver, a 21-year-old Sebring man. He remains in custody.

Police have not yet established the identity of the five victims and it has not been confirmed whether they were employees of the bank or members of the public.

Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said police have not yet been able to notify family members.

"This is a terrible day for Sebring, Highlands County and for the state of Florida," Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

More to come

Law enforcement officials take cover outside the SunTrust Bank branch. Picture: AP
Law enforcement officials take cover outside the SunTrust Bank branch. Picture: AP

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