A horrific scene unfolded in Lakeland, Florida when a former Marine — wearing full body armor — fatally shot four people, including an infant, and injured an 11-year-old girl. Florida law enforcement encountered an “active shooter rampage” in the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021.
The man involved in the shooting was 33-year-old Bryan Riley — from Brandon, Florida — former Marine sharpshooter and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. After officers arrived on the scene Riley exchanged gunfire with them before surrendering. No members of law enforcement were injured during the shootout. Riley suffered a gunshot wound to an arm.
The shooting suspect was charged with:
- Four counts of first-degree murder.
- One count of attempted murder.
- Seven counts of attempted first-degree murder of law enforcement officers.
- Two counts of armed burglary with assault.
- Shooting into a building.
- And one count of arson.
County Sheriff, Grady Judd, told reporters that the shooter was shot at least once during the two gunfights Riley initiated. Judd further stated that anywhere from dozens to hundreds of rounds were fired in the residential area.
According to the sheriff’s office, Riley will have his first court appearance on September 6.
The four victims who died during the shooting were a 33-year-old mother, her 3-month old baby boy, the boy’s 62-year-old grandmother, and a 40-year-old man identified as Justice Gleason. The 11-year-old was shot multiple times and is expected to survive her injuries.
Judd stated that Riley was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. After serving the Marines for four years he was honorably discharged.
The shooting suspect’s girlfriend informed the police that Riley suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She also stated that she had seen him depressed before but never violent. His girlfriend added that this past week Riley repeatedly told her he was speaking directly to God.
According to Judd, officers received a call the night before the shooting about a suspicious vehicle in the area. The shooting suspect told a man in the neighborhood that God sent him to speak to his daughter Amber who was going to commit suicide.
The man and his wife informed Riley that no such person lived there. According to Judd, Riley was then told that if he did not leave they would call the cops. Officers responded to the suspicious vehicle call, however, they did not see the vehicle or Riley.
Roughly nine hours later — around 4:30 a.m. EST — deputies patrolling a nearby neighborhood heard gunfire and received reports about an active shooter. Upon arriving, officers saw a truck on fire and witness the shooting suspect outdoors wearing camouflage and body armor. They did not see a weapon in his hand.
When Riley saw the officers he ran inside one of the homes on the property. Judd said that there were glowsticks forming a pathway up past the house. Then the officers heard gunshots from within the home followed by a woman screaming and a baby whimpering.
They immediately entered the home finding Riley in a bulletproof vest along with other body armor. Riley then engaged the officers in the shootouts. Eventually, he surrendered by walking out of the home with his hands up.
Judd told reporters that Riley informed the officers bringing him to the hospital that the victims “begged for their lives, and I killed them anyway.” Riley also admitted that he was on methamphetamine.
There is no clear connection between the victims and Riley.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The New York Times: Ex-Marine Sharpshooter Kills 4 and Fires at Deputies in Florida, Sheriff Says; by Neil Vigdor and Alyssa Lukpat
Insider: A former marine and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars shot and killed 4 people, including a baby, in Florida, sheriff says; by Kelsey Vlamis
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Bob B. Brown’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Reise Reise Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License