During the horrifying massacre in Florida, US, Bryan Riley, 33, an ex-US Marine, said his victims had ‘begged for their lives’ but he gunned them down anyway
Image: Polk County Sheriff)
A ‘survivalist’ war veteran who dressed in full body armour before shooting dead four people was an ex-US Marine who had begun ‘talking to God’ before the massacre.
Bryan Riley, 33, shot and killed a group of people including a woman and her three-month-old baby she was holding in her arms.
During the horrifying massacre the former sharpshooter said his victims had ‘begged for their lives’ but he gunned them down anyway.
Detectives said that in the week before the deadly mass shooting the war veteran had begun ‘talking to God’ and was also high on drugs.
In the rampage, that also saw an elderly woman and a dog shot and killed, an 11-year-old girl was left injured with several gunshot wounds.
Riley, who had no connection to the victims, got into a shootout with police before giving himself up, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
He later tried to grab a police officer’s gun while being treated in the hospital for his own gunshot wound after the tragedy in central Florida on Sunday.
Fox News reports that the night before the shooting a woman had dialled 911 to say a man had told her that “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters.”
Riley was then said to have claimed he was there to speak to a person named ‘Amber’ because she was ‘going to commit suicide’ and he needed to save her.
It was the next morning that the slaughter unfolded.
A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sharpshooter, Riley had been working as a bodyguard and a security guard.
His girlfriend of four years told investigators he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and occasional depression, police said.
About a week before the massacre his mental health worsened and he told his girlfriend he had started speaking with God.
“He said at one point to our detectives, ‘They begged for their lives and I killed them anyway’.”
Polk County Sheriff)
He was also said to have been high on methamphetamine.
The killer first appeared randomly at the house where the shooting occurred on Saturday night, making nonsensical statements, but left by the time police responded.
He returned early Sunday morning, killing a 40-year-old man, the 33-year-old mother and her baby boy.
In the home next door, he also killed the 62-year-old mother of the woman.
“In addition to that, if he’s not evil enough, he shot and killed the family dog,” Judd said.
Deputies responding to reports of two volleys of automatic gunfire arrived to find the suspect unarmed outside, wearing camouflage and body armour.
Riley then went back inside and “we heard another volley, and a woman scream, and a baby whimper,” Judd said.
A gunfight ensued before he came out unarmed and was arrested.
“It would have been nice if he would have come out with a gun … We would have shot him up a lot. But he didn’t because he was a coward,” Judd said.
“When someone chooses to give up, we take them into custody peacefully.”