Bryan Riley, 33, apparently randomly massacred four people in Lakeland, Florida, on Sunday. The heavily armed sharpshooter involved in a shootout with police then emerged from the house without weapons and was taken into custody
A former Marine who randomly killed four people in a Florida shooting on Sunday has been branded a “coward” by sheriffs for surrendering unarmed to them and not giving them the chance to “shoot him often.”
Bryan Riley, 33, apparently randomly massacred four people in Lakeland, Florida, on Sunday. He was a veteran from Afghanistan battling PTSD and suddenly went on a rampage on Sunday.
The dead included 40-year-old Justice Gleason, a 33-year-old woman and her baby. She was found holding the child. Due to Mary’s law, neither she nor the child have been named by the police.
While at the family home, Riley – who was heavily armed – engaged in a shootout with officers outside.
He eventually surrendered without weapons and is now in custody.
At a news conference on Sunday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he wished he had come out with his gun so officers could shoot him.
“He came out with his hands up and that’s why there was no more shooting. It would have been nice if he had come out with a gun…if he had given us the chance we would have shot him a lot but he didn’t because he was a coward.
A back door, which a deputy used to gain access to the house, was completely smashed
When officers arrived on the scene, they saw a truck on fire, Judd . said
There were also bullet holes on the side of the house
Shots can be seen in the window of the North Lakeland house where the shooting took place
One of the victims was 40-year-old Justice Gleason who was mowing his lawn when the frenzy started. The shooter would not have known any of the victims
“You see, it’s easy to shoot innocent children and babies and people in the middle of the night when you have the gun and she doesn’t, but he wasn’t that kind of man,” Judd said.
Riley shot and killed Gleason, the 33-year-old mother, her three-month-old baby and a 62-year-old grandmother in the house. He also shot and killed the family dog.
Sheriff Judd said detectives have not yet found a connection between the killer and his victims.
“He happened to be the unlucky one who mowed the yard and stopped Bryan. We had a crazy man with a lot of guns who shot innocent people,’ he said.
He called Riley a “rabid animal” and “bad in the flesh.”
Also in the house was an 11-year-old girl who survived after being shot seven times.
Judd told the press conference that Riley’s girlfriend of four years was working with the police to try to determine a motive.
He’s a survivalist and had taken methamphetamine, Judd said.
On the way to the family’s house, he put glow sticks along the path in an attempt to “ambush” the police.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference on Sunday that it would have been “nice” if the suspect had come out with a gun so authorities could have shot him.
Sheriff Judd said 33-year-old Riley, who toured Afghanistan and Iraq, appeared to be suffering from mental health issues and had been slowly unraveling for weeks, repeatedly telling his girlfriend that he could communicate directly with God.
After a shootout with police and sheriffs deputies – in which dozens “if not hundreds of rounds” were exchanged outside Lakeland’s home, Judd said, authorities found an 11-year-old girl who had been shot multiple times, as well as the deceased victims.
Riley, a U.S. Marine who served four years as a marksman on active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq before being honorably discharged, reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and held a job as a security guard.
He described himself as a “survivalist” and told police he was high on methamphetamines at the time of the shooting. Police have not confirmed a toxicology report.
He had a gun license and “virtually no criminal history,” the sheriff said. He turned himself in to authorities after the shooting.
“This man was a war hero before this morning,” Judd said, adding that he’s not a “traditional criminal.”
As of now, he said, “We don’t find any connection between our shooter and our victims.”
Charges against Riley are pending. He is expected to appear in court on Monday afternoon.
Riley was arrested at the scene and taken into custody by Polk County police officers. He is due to appear in court on Monday afternoon