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The man accused of killing five women at a Florida bank branch had always been “fascinated with death and guns,” an ex-girlfriend told reporters after the shooting.

Zephen Xaver, 21, was arrested and charged with five counts of premeditated murder for allegedly shooting and killing four employees and one customer at a Sebring, Fla. SunTrust Bank on Wednesday.

According to Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund, shortly after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday officers received a 911 call from Xaver, who told dispatchers he killed five people in the bank.

Police negotiators, along with deputies from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and Sebring Police Department arrived to the scene, followed by SWAT team members.

Hoglund said during crisis negotiations with Xaver, “it appeared he was not going to allow officers… access to the victims in the bank.”

SWAT team members then entered the bank where Xaver surrendered before being taken into custody and charged.

Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said the shooting will have a lasting impact on Highlands County.

“I have been in law enforcement all of my adult life and this horrific incident shocks and angers me more than anything I have encountered in my career,” Blackman said in a statement. “While we still don’t know what drove the suspect to commit this heinous act, there is no excuse that can justify the cold-blooded murder of multiple victims.”

Here is what to know about the alleged gunman.

What friends and family are saying

The suspect’s father, Josh Xaver, told CNN that he was heartbroken for the victims.

“He wasn’t raised to be like this. He’s always been a good kid. He’s had his troubles,” Xaver said. “But he has never hurt anyone ever before. This is a total shock.”

CNN also spoke to Sharon Spillane, a family friend and neighbor who called Xaver “quiet.”

“I can’t comprehend it right now,” she said. “I don’t understand how or why or what. I just, you go to their house, you go to somebody’s house and you’re there, and you hang out with them, they’re friends, and this happens.”

WSBT in Indiana reported that a woman who says she is Xaver’s ex-girlfriend said he was always “fascinated by death and guns.” Alex Gerlach told the TV station she had tried to warn people about Xaver.

“I never understood where it started,” Gerlach said. “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.”

What is he accused of

Xaver has been charged with five counts of premeditated first-degree murder, authorities confirmed.

Police identified two of the victims of the shooting: customer Cynthia Watson and SunTrust employee Marisol Lopez. Authorities said the identities of the other three were being withheld following requests from their families.

According to police, investigators have still not determined a motive for the shooting, describing it as “random.”

“We have no information at this time as to what his true motive has been,” Hoglund said. “We believe it was a random act where nobody specifically was targeted.”

Where he worked

Xaver’s father confirmed to CNN that his son was an Indiana native who recently moved to Florida.

Associated Press reported that Xanver moved to Sebring in the fall from Plymouth, Indiana.

The Florida Department of Corrections confirmed to TIME Xaver was hired as a trainee prison guard at Avon Park Correctional Institution in Avon Park, Fla. in November and resigned on Jan. 9. The Department of Corrections said he had no record of disciplinary action while employed at the Department.

Xaver was also an online student at Utah’s Stevens-Henager College before withdrawing in December, a spokesman confirmed to TIME.

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Write to Gina Martinez at

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