Debra Cook: A Tribute to the Sebring Shooting Victim

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Inexplicably, as police allege, 21-year-old Zephen Xaver walked into the SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida and ordered five women to lie face down on the floor and then shot them dead.

Five women, most mothers, all innocent victims, killed in an unfathomable act. Now five families, and countless friends, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers grieving the senseless murders.

Cynthia Watson was a newlywed, Marisol Lopez, was a mother of two, Jessica Montague was the mother of three, Ana Piñon-Williams has seven children, and Debra Cook was a grandmother.

The women who ranged in age from 31 to 65, were all shot and killed lying face down.

Xaver has been charged with five counts of premeditated murder.

Some say the motive is unknown and the killing random. But the victims were all women killed in an execution fashion and all save Watson were bank employees. Many say it’s anything but random.

On Saturday SunTrust said it would not reopen the branch.

“After hearing the views of the families and teammates, SunTrust has decided that it will not reopen the Sebring Midtown branch location. We will explore options for the best use of that property, while also maintaining an equally vital banking presence in Sebring. In the meantime, we are notifying clients to use our North Sebring and Avon Park branches, as well as a SunTruck Mobile Branch at 126 West Center Avenue in Sebring. We remain committed to being a caring neighbor, supportive bank and strong business partner in Sebring.”

Here’s what you need to know about Debra Cook:


Debra Cook Was a Bank Employee Originally From Twentynine Palms, California

Like three of the other victims, Debra Cook worked at SunTrust Bank. The 54-year-old mother and grandmother lived in Sebring.

Cook was from and lived in Twentynine Palms, California. While there she worked at the Marine base at Twentynine Palms. She graduated from Cypress High School in Anaheim.

In 1984, then-Debra Ann Eagleston married Michael Cook.


Cook Has Two Sons and Grandchildren. Many Photos & Stories Are Being Shared on her Facebook Legacy Page

Debra’s son Keith, devastated by his mother’s death shared many photos of them together. And he reached out to friends for their love, support and condolences.

“Thank you everyone who has reached out to me and my family during this time. I’m sorry that I haven’t got back to every one. It’s been one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. Please hold your loved ones close. Thank you for every one who has helped us!”

A longtime friend wrote a heartbreaking post about her memories with Cook.

“This all feels surreal and I wish I was reading the headlines wrong. My heart hurts knowing you were taken from this world so soon and in the way that it all happened. I just can’t make any sense of it. ? This world and all of its evil is something I can’t wrap my head around.

Meeting you in 29 Palms because we worked right next to each other was just what I needed at that point of my life. I was going through one of the hardest things ever when you and Obdulia Sierra came into my life. From being at work cutting up and passing the time, to bowling nights together to random get togethers. You were a shoulder to lean on when I needed it most. Thank you for those memories and laughs. My world and life is better knowing you Were a part of it Ms Debra Cook. I know you are in good hands now but damn if this isn’t hard right now without you. ?

Found some of these memories from back in 2-9 from some of our adventures…all I see is you yelling “Big Daddy!” to Ron Perlman cut through the kiosks for the Sons of Anarchy Meet & Greet! ??

Miss you girl…we will catch up when I see you. Watch over us all til then.??”


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