TAMPA – The SunTrust bank shooting suspect Zephen Xaver bought a 9mm handgun and ammunition just days before he opened fire on January 23rd, leaving five women dead according to Florida’s Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and Sebring police.
Ballistic testing is underway to determine if it is the same gun used in the shooting.
Police would not disclose where the gun and ammunition was purchased but confirmed Xaver bought it legally.
The 21-year-old suspect shown below has a long history of psychiatric problems.
According to police reports, in 2014, police in Indiana responded when Xaver had dreams of killing his classmates. He was taken to a behavioral health center for treatment.
In 2017, Michigan State police received a complaint that a girl was getting text messages from Xaver saying he was “possibly thinking of suicide by cop and taking hostages,” according to a report.
Despite his history, Florida Department of Corrections hired Xaver as a trainee at a correctional facility for a short period of time. The DOC has not commented on the case.
Just last year, Florida lawmakers approved a measure that allows firearms to be seized from persons who are judged to pose a danger to themselves or others. The bill was introduced as part of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety act in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland.
These ‘Red Flag’ laws were or are under consideration in several states. A similar measure failed to make it through the Colorado General Assembly in 2018.