Sebring honor five bank shooting victims in vigil
Sebring residents are gathering to honor the five women killed in a SunTrust branch mass shooting.
UPDATE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will not attend the candlelight vigil Sunday — “cancelled due to inclement weather affecting travel,” the governor’s press office sent in an email.
Four SunTrust employees and a customer were killed in the bank’s lobby Wednesday. After a standoff with police, Zephen Xaver, 21, was arrested and is now facing five counts of premeditated murder. State Attorney Brian Haas has said it is likely that he will seek the death penalty.
Sebring police said families of two of the women are raising funds for funeral and other expenses.
One of the victims was Jessica Montague, 31, mother of three young children and seven stepchildren, who was to celebrate her husband’s birthday the day of the shooting. Another woman was Ana Pinon-Williams, the mother of three and stepmother of four who had recently begun working at the bank and was planning a family trip to her native Mexico.
The other two victims identified were Marisol Lopez, described by friends as a dedicated longtime bank teller. The customer who was shot dead was Cynthia Watson, who got married earlier this month. Authorities withheld the name of the fifth victim at the family’s request in compliance with a new victims’ rights law.
Police said the shooting appeared to be a random act, not part of a robbery, and Xaver had no connection to any of the victims.
SunTrust spokesman Michael McCoy told media the bank has decided not to reopen the branch that came under attack after hearing from families. Instead, it is considering a different use for that space.
The banks had observed a moment of silence Friday at 12:36 p.m., which was the time on Wednesday when Xaver called 911 and told dispatchers he had shot everyone inside the bank.