SEBRING, FL — Hundreds of people from this grief-stricken central Florida community turned out Sunday night to honor the five women slain in the SunTrust Bank shootings as donations for the victims’ families continue to grow.
“Until we understand that we each must deal with our own darkness and allow the light to shine in our own hearts, we will never effectively change anything in this nation or in this city,” Tim Williams, whose sister-in-law, Ana Piñon-Williams, was taken from her seven children, told the audience. “It must come from within.” See also SunTrust Bank Shootings: Chilling 9-1-1 Call, Victims Remembered
Meanwhile, police said Monday that accused killer Zephen Xaver purchased a 9 mm handgun and ammunition just days before last week’s shootings.
“Ballistic testing is underway to determine if that gun was the same one used inside SunTrust Bank,” according to a joint statement from Sebring police and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
SunTrust Foundation earlier announced a partnership Monday with the National Compassion Fund to provide direct financial support to the families.
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The campaign raised more than $18,000 after only a few hours with a goal of $1 million. Click here to make a donation.
“Through the SunTrust Foundation and Sebring Strong Survivors Fund we are committed to supporting the families of the victims as they begin to recover,” explained SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers.
At least two other GoFundMe pages have also been established for the families of individual victims, including one for the Montague family and another for the Pinon-Williams family.
Tina Warner, who lost her daughter, Jessica Montague, in the tragedy, told Spectrum Bay News 9 TV that her daughter’s memory lives on.
“I’m sad, but you know what, my daughter will always live through me,” Warner told the television news crew. “She was an amazing mom, a wife, a daughter. She was my best friend, not just my daughter, but my best friend.”
Jose Sanchez points to the sky as he walks in front of the SunTrust Bank branch where his friend was killed along with four other people on Jan. 24 in Sebring. Sanchez said he was asking God to take care of his friend. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images). Video courtesy Highland County Sheriff’s Office.
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