Its just a couple of weeks into the New Year and there’s already been 19 mass shootings in the United States.
On Wednesday, five people were murdered after a gunman took hostages in a Florida bank, forced them to the floor and began shooting, authorities said.
Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund and Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman briefed reporters but declined to elaborate on the motive for the shooting, which took place around noon at the SunTrust bank in Sebring, about 94 miles southeast of Tampa.
The suspect was identified by Hoglund as Zephen Xaver, 21, a Sebring resident. A photo published by the Highlands News-Sun shows police taking a handcuffed white male, wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts, from the scene.
“It’s been a tragic day in our community. We have suffered a significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime” Hoglund said adding that “at least” five people were “senselessly murdered” in the ordeal. It wasn’t clear whether the victims were bank employees or customers.
The gunman apparently entered and locked the bank, then forced customers to lie on the floor.
According to the Gun Violence Archive website, this is the 19th mass shooting for 2019 in less than a month.