Family friend: Bank shooting suspect 'normal' and 'well-mannered'

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The man police say shot and killed five people in a Sebring, Florida SunTrust bank Wednesday is described by those who know him as “normal” and “well-mannered.”

Those who know 21-year-old Zephen Xaver are trying to understand what may have motivated the violence described by law enforcement.

Officers were at Xaver’s family home, on Pine Tree Lane in Sebring, for hours after the shooting, searching for evidence possibly related to the bank shooting.

A family friend of the suspect shared some insight about who Zephen Xaver is.

“I would have never in a million years seen this coming at all,” Sharon Spillane told FOX 13 News.

Spillane said she is good friends with Xaver’s parents.

“We’ve cooked together, I’ve been in their house, we’ve watched movies. They’re a very normal family,” Spillane said. “He had a job and he was very quiet and very well-mannered. Anytime that I saw him, he was very well-mannered, always good posture and well-spoken.”

Meanwhile, the families of Xaver’s victims are left to wait for answers about why this happened.

“When I heard what happened I was [totally] distraught. I was crying and my roommate said, ‘Jose, what’s the matter?’ and I said ‘A friend of mine worked in that bank,’” Jose Sanchez said of the moments after he learned about the shooting.

Police have not released the names of those killed. Families and friends of the victims gathered outside the Inn on the Lakes, a hotel next to the bank, to learn more about what happened and comfort one another.

The Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Wednesday evening Zephen Xaver was a correctional officer trainee with Avon Park Correctional Institution for about two months. He resigned two weeks before the shooting.

They say he didn’t have any disciplinary problems while he worked there.