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Shooter "hated everyone"

A former prison guard trainee accused of fatally shooting five people inside a Florida bank branch has long been fascinated with the idea of killing, but people who could have done something about it didn't take his threats seriously, a woman who identified herself as his former girlfriend told a television station.

Zephen Xaver, 21, "for some reason always hated people and wanted everybody to die," Alex Gerlach told WSBT-TV in Indiana, shortly after Wednesday's massacre in Sebring. "He got kicked out of school for having a dream that he killed everybody in his class, and he's been threatening this for so long, and he's been having dreams about it and everything."

"Every single person I've told has not taken it seriously, and it's very unfortunate that it had to come to this," Gerlach said.

Gerlach told The Washington Post that Xaver said he purchased a gun last week and "no one thought anything of it" because he had always liked guns. Public records and neighbours say Xaver and his mother moved to Sebring in the fall from Plymouth, Indiana, a small city south of South Bend, home of the University of Notre Dame.

Investigators said Xaver called police from inside the SunTrust Bank branch Wednesday, saying "I have shot five people."

Then he barricaded himself inside and when negotiations failed, the SWAT team burst in, capturing Xaver and discovering the bodies, police said. Investigators did not offer a possible motive, and a police spokesman said he did not know if the attack began as a robbery. The victims were not immediately identified. No one else was inside the bank.

The bank sits between a hotel and a hair salon located in a business district of U.S. 27. The four-lane highway passes through farming communities and small towns as it connects South Florida and central Florida. Sebring, with 10,000 residents, is known internationally for its annual 12 Hours of Sebring endurance auto race that draws world-class drivers.



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