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Florida sheriff calls Marine a ‘coward’ for surrendering to police unarmed after murdering four


Bryan Riley, 33 slaughtered four people seemingly at random on Sunday in Lakeland, Florida. The heavily-armed sharp shooter engaged in a gunfight with police then emerged from the home without weapons and was taken into custody

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Bryan Riley, 33 slaughtered four people seemingly at random on Sunday in Lakeland, Florida. The heavily-armed sharp shooter engaged in a gunfight with police then emerged from the home without weapons and was taken into custody 

A former marine who killed four people at random in a shooting spree in Florida on Sunday has been branded a ‘coward’ by sheriffs for surrendering to them unarmed and not giving them the chance to ‘shoot him up a lot’. 

Bryan Riley, 33 slaughtered four people seemingly at random on Sunday in Lakeland, Florida. He was an Afghanistan veteran who was battling PTSD and went on a sudden rampage on Sunday. 

Among those killed was 40-year-old Justice Gleason, a 33-year-old woman and her baby. She was found still holding the infant. Because of Mary’s Law, neither she nor the infant have been named by police. 

While inside the family’s home, Riley – who was heavily armed – engaged in a firefight with officers outside. 

He eventually surrendered without any weapons and is now in custody. 

At a press conference on Sunday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he’d wished he’d come out with his weapon so that officers could have shot him.

‘He came out with his hands up and that’s why there was no further gunfire. It would have been nice if he’d come out with a gun… if he’d given us the opportunity, we would have shot him up a lot but he didn’t, because he was a coward.  

A backdoor, which a deputy used to gain entrance into the home, was completely shattered

A backdoor, which a deputy used to gain entrance into the home, was completely shattered

When officers arrived on the scene, Judd said, they saw a truck on fire

When officers arrived on the scene, Judd said, they saw a truck on fire

There were also bullet holes on the side of the house

There were also bullet holes on the side of the house

Gunshots are seen in the window of the North Lakeland home where the shooting occurred

Gunshots are seen in the window of the North Lakeland home where the shooting occurred

One of the victims was 40-year-old Justice Gleason who was mowing his lawn when the rampage began. The shooter is not thought to have known any of the victims

One of the victims was 40-year-old Justice Gleason who was mowing his lawn when the rampage began. The shooter is not thought to 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’ve got the gun and they don’t but he was not much of a man,’ Judd said. 

Riley shot Gleason, the 33-year-old mother, her three-month-old baby and a 62-year-old grandmother inside the home. He also shot dead the family dog. 

Sheriff Judd said detectives have found no connection yet between the killer and his victims. 

‘He just happened to be the unlucky one mowing the yard and Bryan stopped. We had a mad man with a lot of guns that shot and killed innocent people,’ he said. 

He called Riley a ‘rabid animal’ and ‘evil in the flesh’. 

Also inside the home was an 11-year-old girl who survived after being shot seven times. 

Judd told the news conference that Riley’s girlfriend of four years was cooperating with police to try to determine a motive. 

He is a survivalist and had been taking methamphetamine, Judd said. 

On his way into the family’s home, he set glow sticks along the path in an attempt to ‘draw’ police ‘into an ambush’. 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Sunday that it would have 'been nice' if the suspect had come out with a gun so that authorities could have shot him

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Sunday that it would have ‘been nice’ if the suspect had come out with a gun so that authorities could have shot him 

Sheriff Judd said 33-year-old Riley, who completed tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, appeared to be suffering from mental health issues and had been slowly unravelling for weeks, repeatedly telling his girlfriend that he could communicate directly with God.

After a gunfight with police and deputies — where dozens ‘if not hundreds of rounds’ were exchanged outside the Lakeland home, Judd said, authorities found an 11-year-old girl shot multiple times, as well as the deceased victims. 

Riley, a United States Marine who served as a sharp-shooter for four years in active service in Afghanistan and Iraq before being honorably discharged, reportedly suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had a job as a security guard.

He described himself as a ‘survivalist’ and told police that he was high on methamphetamines at the time of the shooting. Police have not confirmed a toxicology report. 

He had a concealed weapons license and ‘virtually no criminal history,’ according to the sheriff. He turned himself into authorities following the shooting.

‘This guy, prior to this morning, was a war hero,’ Judd said, adding that he is not a ‘traditional criminal.’ 

As of now, he said, ‘We find zero connection between our shooter and our victims.’ 

Charges against Riley are pending. He is expected in court on Monday afternoon.

Riley was arrested on the scene and taken into custody by Polk County police officers. He is due in court on Monday afternoon

Riley was arrested on the scene and taken into custody by Polk County police officers. He is due in court on Monday afternoon