A former Marine who murdered a family of four and their dog in a random attack in Florida after seeing ‘visions from God’ has told police he is ‘a sick guy’ and should be ‘sent to jail’.
Bryan Riley, 33, opened fire at around 4am on Sunday at a home in Lakeland.
He murdered Justice Gleason, 40; his 33-year-old partner Theresa Lanham; their three-month-old son Jody; and the baby’s grandmother, 62, at a home behind the main property.
The family dog, Diogi, was also killed, and an 11-year-old girl at the home was shot seven times but expected to survive.
Riley barricaded himself inside the house as police arrived, wearing body armor, but was shot once and then surrendered without his weapon. On Monday he appeared before a judge to face 17 counts, and was denied bail.
Details of Riley’s affidavit were obtained on Monday by The Washington Post.
Riley was arrested on the scene and taken into custody by Polk County police officers. He is due in court on Monday afternoon
He admitted to shooting five people – killing four – who he did not know, and said voices instructed him to do it, according to the affidavit.
Asked why he shot the baby, the affidavit says, Riley responded: ‘Because I’m a sick guy. I want to confess to all of it and be sent to jail.’
The victims begged Riley to stop as he continued shooting, the affidavit says he told officers.
Riley allegedly told investigators that ‘they begged for their lives and I killed them anyway.’
Riley also told them he set a nearby pickup truck on fire as an ‘exit strategy.’
Justice Gleason, 40, and his girlfriend Theresa Lanham, 33, were killed in the early hours of Sunday along with their baby son Jody, aged three months
Three-month-old Jody was killed in the shooting, and was found dead in his mother’s arms
Justice Gleason, 40, was shot dead along with his partner Theresa Lanham and their three-month-old son Jody. Father and son are shown together (left) and before Theresa gave birth
On Sunday afternoon Grady Judd, Polk County sheriff, said the former Marine was a ‘coward’ for surrendering to police unarmed, which meant they could not shoot him.
‘He came out with his hands up; that’s why there was no further gunfire,’ Judd told reporters.
‘It would have been nice if he would have come out with a gun, and then we could have read a newspaper through him and we’d have had a different conversation here this morning.
‘But when someone chooses to give up, we take him into custody peacefully.
‘If he had given us the opportunity, we would have shot him up a lot.’
The suspect told officers he was a survivalist and had taken meth, Judd said, and Riley told them: ‘You know why I did this.’
At the hospital, he tried to grab a Lakeland Police officer’s gun ‘and they had to fight with him once again in the Lakeland Regional Emergency Room,’ Judd said.
Riley was tied down and given a medication that rendered him unable to fight and treatment for his shooting wound continued, Judd said.
Judd said that a man, believed to be Riley, was seen in the neighborhood on Saturday mowing his lawn, and told Gleason that he needed to stop a girl named Amber from suicide.
Neighbors called the police, but by the time they arrived, six minutes later, the man had disappeared and a 22-minute search yielded no suspect, Lakeland Now reported.
Theresa and Justice. He was mowing the lawn and she was inside the home with their children. An 11-year-old girl survived the shooting but was wounded seven times
Nine hours later, around 4am on Sunday, Riley returned, entered the house and killed the four.
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,’ said Judd.
‘We had a mad man with a lot of guns that shot and killed innocent people.’
He called Riley a ‘rabid animal’ and ‘evil in the flesh’.
Riley appeared in court on Monday morning charged with 17 charges; four counts of first degree murder, seven counts of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, two counts of shooting into a building, two counts of armed burglary, second degree arson and attempted first degree murder with a weapon.
He has been held without bond and is being represented by a public defender until he can find his own attorney.
Justice and Theresa at her baby shower. She gave birth to baby Jody in May
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
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
Judd told the news conference that Riley’s girlfriend of four years was cooperating with police to try to determine a motive.
She told investigators that she was ‘mortified and shocked’ and that he had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, but had not been violent.
According to Judd, she told investigators her boyfriend had repeatedly insisted to her in recent days that he could talk directly with God and that God had advised him to amass supplies for Hurricane Ida victims, including $1,000 worth of cigars as a ‘relief present.’
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
Judd said 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 had recently returned from a job protecting a church in Orlando, his girlfriend said, and was changed.
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.
‘This guy, prior to this morning, was a war hero,’ Judd said, adding that he is not a ‘traditional criminal.’