A self-described “survivalist” on meth went on a shooting rampage in central Florida, killing four members of a family and wounding an eleven year old girl.
Former Marine Bryan Riley, 33, barricaded himself inside the victims’ home after the murders, eventually getting into a shootout with police before surrendering.
Riley originally went to the home at around 7:30 p.m. on September 4th, where he told one of the family members: “I’m here to talk to Amber, you see, God sent me here because she’s going to commit suicide.”
Prior to this encounter, the former Marine had no connection to the victims, who told him to leave and called the police. Officers arrived and searched for Riley, but could not find him. He then drove 30 minutes back to his home, and got into a short argument with his girlfriend.
Nine hours later, he returned to the victims’ home.
Fox News reports:
“A sheriff’s deputy in the area heard ‘two volleys of automatic gunfire’ around 4:30 a.m. When the deputy got to the house, he noticed a truck on fire in the front yard and a trail of glow sticks leading from the road to the home, making him fear that the property could be booby-trapped. The first deputy at the scene also saw the suspect outside of the house in camouflage.”
At a press conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd elaborated on the story.
“The suspect runs into the house and then there’s another volley of gunshots and they could hear a woman crying and a baby whimpering,” he said.
Officers first tried to enter the house via the front door, which was blocked from the inside. They then went around back, where they were immediately drawn in to a shootout with Riley. The suspect was struck at least one time. Air support was called in, and upon arriving, Riley came out of the house with his hands up.
Police finally entered the house, finding three deceased victims: 40 year old Justice Gleason, a 33 year old female, and a 3 month old boy. In the apartment next door, the infant’s grandmother, 62, was found dead. The family’s dog was also shot and killed. Police also found an 11 year old girl who had been shot seven times. The girl was brought to Tampa General Hospital, and is expected to survive her injuries.
“While on the way to the hospital and while at the hospital he made statements like he’d been taking meth,” Sheriff Judd said. “He also said that he was a survivalist and he also made statements like, ‘You know why I did this.’
According to Riley’s girlfriend, he had been working as a security guard at a church in Orlando, and had returned home on August 29th believing that he could speak directly to God. She also noted that he had became increasingly erratic since making the claim, and was not sleeping.
“We’re not dealing with a traditional criminal here. But what we’re dealing with is someone who obviously had mental health issues at least this last week, had PTSD,” said Judd.
“He said to one of our detectives, ‘They begged for their lives and I killed them anyway.’ He’s evil in the flesh. He’s a rabid animal,” Judd, who has worked in the sheriff’s office for nearly 50 years, added.
In a separate statement to Fox News, the sheriff commented on the murders, stating: “It was an evil, evil, evil act by a very well-trained military person who knew better and still did it.”
“It ranks right up there with the worst ever,” he added.
“What makes it so gut-wrenching is that these innocent people died and they were randomly picked out. This wasn’t a fight that went bad, this wasn’t a disturbance that escalated,” Judd continued. “When you see a 3-month-old, little, beautiful baby boy deceased in the arms of his mother, where she’s trying to protect him, and she’s murdered, he’s murdered, and his daddy’s murdered — that’s pretty rough.”
33-year-old Bryan Riley was silent as he was escorted into a patrol car. He’s accused of shooting and killing 4 people including a 3-month-old baby. An 11-year-old girl was also shot and is now recovering at Tampa General Hospital. We’re live with the latest at 6 on @FOX13News pic.twitter.com/IvwsZJXYj7
— Jordan Bowen (@JordanBowenFOX) September 5, 2021
Riley served in the Marines for four years, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, was honorably discharged, and then served as a reserve for three years.