SEBRING, Fla. (FOX 13) - Two months after the tragic Suntrust Bank shooting in Sebring took five innocent lives, the community is continuing to rally around the families of those victims.
On Sunday, more than 500 community members laced up their running shoes for the Sebring Strong 5K Memorial Run. The run served as a tribute to the five women who tragically lost their lives during the shooting.
''They're part of us. And now it's kind of a celebration of those five ladies and just to remember what they did mean," said Mayor John Shoop of Sebring.
All the proceeds from the event went to benefit the families of the victims as they continue to cope with their loss.
The tragedy that shook the Sebring community to its core is now bringing them together in a whole new way.
"It happened in January and it's March, and we're still Sebring Strong," said Chelsea Schell, a member of the Sebring AmeriLife Branch, the organization responsible for the run.
However, the heartbreaking chain of events is still burned into every resident's mind.
"It never happens to you. You hate to say it but you get kind of numb to that stuff, until it hits home," said Mayor Shoop.
On January 23, 21-year-old Zephen Xaver entered the Suntrust Bank on U.S. 27 in Sebring and proceed to kill everyone inside. Four bank employees and one customer, all women, were shot.
Xaver called authorities to report his crime before he barricaded himself inside the bank. After a two hour standoff, Highlands County Deputies finally made their way inside, taking Xaver into custody.
Two months later, the community has far from recovered from that dark day.
"I don't know if we'll ever heal totally," Shoop stated. "It's always going to be there. You ride past where they were, and you know the people."
But nonetheless, the Sebring community is resilient.
"It shows the way that this community can come together, and like I said earlier, create a new normal for us," said Dianne McGahan, a community member from the neighboring town of Lake Placid.
Residents all ran together as family members of the victims cheered them on - a reminder that the Sebring community refuses to be broken.
Xaver was indicted on five counts of premeditated first degree murder. Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty against the 21-year-old.