Victor Sparks is beyond grateful to be alive, but that hasn’t stopped the same image from playing over and over again in his head.
“Having been there and witnessing those people’s last little bit here on this earth [has] been hard,” Sparks told News Channel 8.
Sparks and his wife had been running errands Wednesday when they stopped at the Suntrust Bank on U.S. 27 south in Sebring.
“Going to the bank was the fifth, and the last stop in our plans for the day,” Sparks said.
Sparks tried to open the bank doors but they seemed to be locked. After trying twice, he says he peeked in the door and saw something he will never forget.
“I saw the people laying, facing away from me, on their stomachs. I saw this man walking back and forth at their feet,” Sparks said.
Sparks had no idea what was going on. He calmly walked back to his car to call for help.
“As I was walking away, I heard two shots. At the time I didn’t know they were shots,” he said.
“I got to the car and my wife noticed a funny look on my face and said, ‘What’s the matter, are you not going to go into the bank?’ I said, ‘well either there’s a drill going on or there is a robbery,'” Sparks said.
“Right away she noticed there weren’t any police cars in the parking lot and said, ‘this isn’t a drill.'”
The couple dialed 911 and moved their van to a safe distance so they could help police identify the suspect if he took off.
“The amazing thing was how fast the response was. That has really been a major thing for me,” Sparks said as he cried.
“There was just absolutely no hesitation. There were two in a black car and they got out and they had their guns out and walked right up to the door where I had been.”
When Sparks learned the gravity of the situation, that the alleged gunman Zephen Xaver had killed five women in the bank, his heart shattered.
“I just couldn’t get that picture out of my mind. It didn’t matter what I was doing. I’m just still seeing those people laying there on the floor and him walking back and forth,” Sparks said.
“I was a basket case until after Sunday morning service when a bunch of people gathered around and prayed really hard. So I’ve been doing better since then. Still these waves come in where it’s still emotional.”
Despite the heartache and grief, he believes he was put there for a reason.
“I think the Lord had us at the right place, doing the right things, at the right time. That’s the reason we got on the phone right away to call 911. I suspect that because of the police getting there so quick he may of had ideas about going someplace else. We may have had a part in him not getting away.”
Sparks said the police department reached out to offer him counseling. He hopes that will help him cope with what he experienced.