Multiple people shot in hostage situation at SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida

Posted at 2:22 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 15:18:52-05


SEBRING, Florida — Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell said that multiple people have been shot in a "hostage situation" at a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida.

Elwell confirmed there were injuries in the incident. It was unclear if those injured were bank employees or customers inside the bank during the incident.

Overhead video of the scene from CNN affiliate WFLA shows a heavy police presence, several ambulances and a large SWAT vehicle. Medical personnel entered the bank after the glass entrance to it was destroyed.

The incident began when a subject called police at 12:36 p.m. and said he had fired shots inside the bank, and Sebring Police and Highland County Sheriff's Office deputies responded, according to police.

Initial negotiations to try to get the barricaded subject to exit the bank were not successful, so SWAT team entered the bank and continued negotiations. The suspect eventually surrendered to the SWAT team, police said.

There is no danger to the surrounding area, police said. US-27 is shut down in both directions near the bank due to the incident.

"We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected," said SunTrust's Chief Communications Officer Sue Mallino. "We will provide more information as soon as we can."

Family members, coworkers, and friends looking to reunite with loved ones after the incident are gathering at the nearby Inn on the Lakes, according to Yanique Blackellar, the front desk manager of the inn.

Sebring, Florida, located in Highlands County in the south-central part of the state, had a population of just over 10,000 people as of the 2010 US Census . The SunTrust Bank sits along US-27, between Lake Jackson and Little Lake Jackson.