SEBRING, Fla. (FOX 13) - The ex-girlfriend of the man accused of gunning down five people at a Suntrust bank in Sebring, Wednesday, said she remembers him having an obsession with guns and knives.
"The only thing I can remember is him talking about guns and wanting guns," said Alex Gerlach, who now lives in Indiana. "He wants to hurt people physically."
Zephen Xaver, 21, was arrested after a SWAT team charged into the bank located on U.S. 27. Police said the teen called 911 and said he was armed with a gun and was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Gerlach said she was inundated that afternoon with messages from people asking if she was the gunman's ex-girlfriend.
According to Gerlach, she met Xaver in a psychiatric hospital in 2013. She said they dated off and on for about two years.
"At one point my mother was terrified because she thought he was going to physically harm me," said Gerlach, who described Xaver as a troubled teen.
"For some reason, he always hated people and wanted everybody to die."
Documents provided by the Bremen Police Department in Indiana state officers went to Xaver's high school in 2014, after school officials said he was having disturbing thoughts.
The documents state Xaver told school officials he had dreams of hurting his classmates.
According to the police report, Xaver's mother agreed to transport her son to a behavioral health center.
Gerlach said Xaver continued to make chilling comments over the years, and as late as last week, sent her a picture of him holding a gun.
"I've been scared for years and every single person I've told has not taken it seriously, and it's very unfortunate it had to come to this," she said.