Months after deadly shooting, Sebring SunTrust building demolished

Five months after a gunman walked into a Sebring bank and started shooting, the SunTrust branch where five women lost their lives is being torn down.

SunTrust bank officials said most of the demolition work should be complete this week. It’s a major step towards healing for the Sebring community.

Wednesday, many watched as crews began breaking down the bank building where four employees and one customer were murdered.

“I think it’s a good thing. I couldn’t imagine walking into the building myself,” Sebring resident Jake McClelland said.

“When you drive by and you happen to look on that side of the road, you know, it’s always in the back of your mind,” said resident Joe Minshew.

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It’s a reminder of the violent attack that happened in the bank back on January 23. Investigators say gunman Zephen Xaver, with no apparent motive, walked in and started shooting. The 21-year-old has pleaded not guilty.

“I don’t think anybody will ever forget, so I think if they have something better to focus on instead of the bad memories maybe it will be better for the community as a whole,” Minshew said.

SunTrust Bank was quick to decide not to reopen the branch on U.S. 27, telling FOX 13 News it’s working with local officials and community leaders to evaluate options for the land to honor the five lives lost.

“Maybe a memorial would be nice where people can, you know, go in there and give their respects,” McClelland said.

Once the demolition is done, the lot will be cleared and prepped for whatever’s next.