Florida ‘Survivalist’ Kills 4 in Shooting Rampage, Leaves 11-Year-Old Hospitalized
© Photo : PixabayPolice light
© Photo : Pixabay
Local law enforcement officials revealed that the shooting suspect had earlier scoped out the area late Saturday, and had even spoken to one of the victims. Although police had been called to the scene, the suspect had already left the grounds.
A shooting rampage claimed the lives of four individuals, including an infant, early Sunday after a self-described “survivalist” began discharging his firearm in a neighborhood in Lakeland, Florida.
Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd revealed during a briefing that the shooting unfolded at about 4:30 a.m. local time in two separate homes that were located on the same property, and that a shootout with police had occurred shortly after the first shooting took place.
The suspected shooter was identified as Bryan Riley, a 33-year-old from Brandon, Florida, who was a Marine sharpshooter. Riley had done tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, spending four years with the service before being honorably discharged. He later spent another three years in the reserves.
Investigators have indicated that Riley, who had recently been working as security detail for a local church, initially arrived at the Lakeland neighborhood Saturday afternoon. His arrival to the community quickly prompted a call to the authorities after he had pulled alongside a woman in his car and stated that God had instructed him to talk with one of her daughters.
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 (@PolkCoSheriff) September 5, 2021
Incidentally, neighbors concerned with Riley’s presence in the community had also told Riley to leave the area. While cops had been dispatched to the scene, Riley had already left.
However, he didn’t stay away for long. Riley returned to the scene sometime after 4 a.m. local time on Sunday. Cops were alerted to the scene once again after a local officer heard two volleys of gunfire emanating from the area. It was at that same time that 911 calls began to trickle in to police.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers saw a truck on fire and a popping noise coming from the home’s front yard, where they later spotted Riley “outfitted in body armor and looked as though he was ready to engage us in an active shooter situation,” according to Judd.
Moments later, Riley ran back into the home, with deputies subsequently hearing another gunshot and hearing another woman and baby “scream” and “whimper.” With officers attempting to enter the home, fire was exchanged between the two parties as Riley held officials off. The exchanges came to an end once Riley surrendered after suffering a single gunshot wound.
Examining the scene, officials determined that four individuals had been shot - a man and two women, one of whom was holding an infant in her arms. The three-month old boy had died from a gunshot wound as well. An 11-year-old girl was also shot multiple times, however, police were able to transport her to a local area hospital.
Judd told reporters that after being taken into custody, Riley had been transported to a hospital, where he had attempted to “jump” an officer for his firearm. Riley allegedly told officers that he was a “survivalist,” and that “they begged for their lives, but I shot them anyway.”
The sheriff described Riley as being “evil in the flesh.” The sharpshooter is said to also have killed the family’s dog.
Riley presently faces at least four counts of first-degree murder, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which also noted that offenses of attempted murder and animal cruelty are also due. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.