Ex-girlfriend says shooter accused of killing 5 in Fl. was "fascinated with death, guns"
A gunman barricaded himself in a Florida bank after police say he shot and killed five people, and sources told WSBT that he attended both Bremen AND Plymouth high schools -- a blatant connection to Michiana.
Zephen Xaver is accused of opening fire inside a SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida on Tuesday afternoon, fatally shooting five people.
Plymouth Community School Corporation confirmed Xaver was enrolled from 2004-2012. Bremen Public Schools confirmed he was a student at Bremen High School during a "small segment" of the 2012-2013 school year then returned briefly during the 2013-2014 school year.
The Associated Press reports, public records and neighbors say Zephen and his mother moved to Sebring in the fall from Plymouth, Indiana.
According to officials, Xaver barricaded himself inside the building and eventually surrendered to a SWAT team.
Sources who both wish to remain anonymous told us they attended school with him, one at Bremen High School and the other at Plymouth High School.
WSB-TV reports that the victims have not yet been identified and family members have not been notified, and that police said they were the only five people in the bank at the time.
Florida Governor Ron Desantis released a statement:
The people of Florida stand with the community here in light of this tragic circumstance...this individual needs to face very swift and exacting justice.
It was just a few hours after Xaver was taken into custody that Florida police publicly released his identity. We then determined he has a local connection to Michiana.
We went to Plymouth where we believe Xaver once lived.
You can see his mugshot above, as well as a photo we received from a former classmate and a former girlfriend.
While he is currently living in Sebring, Florida with family, we believe other family members, including his father, still live in Plymouth.
WSBT went to the family home tonight in rural Marshall County in an attempt to talk to them.
When we approached the home to ask for an interview, a man who we believe to be family member told us they weren't interested in talking.
We spoke on the phone with Alex Gerlach, who told us she used to date Xaver.
His ex-girlfriend described him as being "fascinated with death and guns."
She says they had an on-and-off relationship for two years, but she has kept in contact every few months since.
Gerlach says he often talked about wanting to hurt people, but what was really disturbing is what she said happened only recently -- she said he showed her a picture of a handgun but she says she never thought anything of it.
"I never understood where it started," continued Gerlach. "For some reason [he] always hated people and wanted everyone to die. He got kicked out of school for having a dream that he killed everybody in his class."
She went on to say she tried warning people in the past, but no one believed her.
She says it's unfortunate that five people had to die for it be known.
Plymouth Community School Corporation released the following statement:
Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, families, and others impacted by the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Florida.
Regarding requests relating to the individual in question, pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy, we can confirm that he was enrolled at Plymouth Community School Corporation for his education from 2004-2012.
Bremen Public Schools released the following statement:
First, it is imperative that we state our sincere condolences to the friends, family members, and others impacted by the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Sebring, Florida. Such events are a sobering reminder of how quickly a tragedy can befall upon any community.
Regarding specific requests concerning Mr. Xaver, pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) we can only confirm that he was a student at Bremen High School during a small segment of the 2012-2013 and returned for a brief period during the 2013-2014 academic school year.
Again, our deepest condolences to those impacted by this tragic event.