Ex-Marine kills 4, including infant, in Florida shooting, police say

Bryan Riley, 33, has been booked into the Polk County Jail on a slew of charges including four counts of first-degree murder. Photo courtesy of Polk County Sheriff/Twitter
1 of 4 | Bryan Riley, 33, has been booked into the Polk County Jail on a slew of charges including four counts of first-degree murder. Photo courtesy of Polk County Sheriff/Twitter

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Marine wearing full-body armor shot and killed four people, including a 3-month-old infant, and injured an 11-year-old girl in Florida early Sunday, police said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the shootings took place at 4:23 a.m. in two houses in a neighborhood in North Lakeland, Fla., and that the suspect engaged in two separate shootouts with police "in short order" before he was injured and surrendered. North Lakeland is between Tampa and Orlando.


After the suspect was in custody, police found 40-year-old Justice Gleason, a 33-year-old woman and a 3-month-old boy dead along with an 11-year-old girl who had been shot "multiple times" in one of the homes. The woman was holding the child in her arms, Judd said. The fourth victim, the 62-year-old grandmother to the infant, was killed in the second house on the property.


"But in addition to that, if he's not evil enough, he shot and killed the family dog," he said, adding that the dog was named after a Polk County sheriff canine who was killed along with its handler in the line of duty in 2005.

No police officers were injured in the shootouts and at least two firearms were retrieved from the crime scene.

The 11-year-old was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital for surgery and another child, originally reported missing, was located alive and well.

Judd said they have found "zero connection" between the suspect, who had to drive 30 miles from his Brandon residence to the crime scene, and his victims.

"This man killed four people this morning, tried to kill our deputies and then gave up," Judd said.

The suspect was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital where he attempted to grab an officer's gun before being subdued for treatment, Judd said.

Bryan Riley, 33, has been booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, two counts of shooting into a building, one count of second-degree arson and two counts of armed burglary with assault and battery.


Judd identified Riley as a former U.S. Marine and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who did four years of service and was honorably discharged before doing another three years in the reserves. Riley was designated as a sharpshooter, Judd said.

He told police that he was "a survivalist" and was on methamphetamine at the time of the shootings.

"He came here for a gun battle," said Judd. "We don't know why."

His girlfriend of four years told the authorities that Riley suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, Judd said.

A week ago, Riley returned home from performing security at an Orlando church and told his girlfriend that God had spoken to him and that he could talk back, Judd said.

On Saturday before the shooting, a woman called police to report a suspicious vehicle and said that a man told her "God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters," Judd said.

Deputies responded within 6 minutes and did not find the suspect or the car at the residence but 9 hours later deputies about 2 miles away heard automatic gunfire.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers said they saw a vehicle on fire, a path of glow sticks from the road to the residence and "an individual totally outfitted in body armor" Judd said, but he did not engage them and instead went back into the house.


"At that moment in time, we heard another volley and a woman scream and a baby whimper," Judd said.

A lieutenant then attempted to enter the house but found it was barricaded. The lieutenant then entered the house through the back and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was shot before retreating back into the house from where he continued to shoot at police.

Air support then noticed the suspect exiting the house with his hands raised, surrendering, he said.

Judd said Riley told detectives that "they begged for their lives and I killed them anyway."

"He's evil in the flesh," Judd said. "He was a rabid animal."

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