SEBRING — Highlands County officials are reporting five people have been injured in this afternoon's shooting at SunTrust Bank, 1901 U.S. 27 South in Sebring. Authorities are not divulging the severity of the injuries.
The suspect did surrender to the Highlands County Sheriff’s SWAT team after the building was breached by SWAT and is in custody. A press conference is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.
Area hospitals have been contacted and are standing by to take the injured, as well as Aeromed if needed.
Authorities responded to a possible armed robbery at SunTrust Bank around 12:30 p.m. Sebring Police Cmdr. Curtis Hart and other police officials, Highlands County Sheriff’s Office SWAT, K-9, deputies and Sheriff Paul Blackman are on scene along with Sebring Fire Department.
U.S. 27 was shut down between Lakeview Drive and Golfview Road with only law enforcement being allowed in the area for several hours, but the highway has been reopened as of 3:30 p.m.
The Sheriff's Office is having co-workers and family members of anyone who was at the SunTrust branch during this incident go to Inn on the Lakes. They request ONLY co-workers and family members please.
Authorities have lifted the controlled lockdown at nearby schools and school release will resume. School buses were expected to be delayed due to the U.S. 27 shutdown.
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke with Blackman around 2:35 p.m. DeSantis also spoke with Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
A reporter on scene spoke to Victor and Deanna Sparks, who said they alerted authorities to the incident.
At about 12:35 p.m. Victor Sparks said he walked up to the front door of SunTrust Bank. He said he was going to make a deposit and reached for the bank door and found it was locked. He said he peered inside and saw people laying on the floor and someone walking around in front and among them. Victor Sparks said he turned and walked away from the bank and it was "sort of scary" because as he did he heard a big bang. He said he and his wife called 911 and cops were on scene in two minutes.
This news story is developing. Check back for updates. Highlands News-Sun staff writers Melissa Main and Marc Valero contributed to this report.