A 33-year-old former Marine, Bryan Riley, has killed a family of four in Florida. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Riley killed a couple, a grandma, a baby, and fatally shot an 11-year-old girl after torturing her at length. Riley, who worked as a security guard and served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said God sent him to rescue a fictitious girl named Amber – a victim of sex trafficking.
Sheriff Judd described Riley as a “totally evil person” who just went to a home in the Lakeland neighborhood and confronted the occupants about an Amber. He saw 40-year-old Justice Gleason cutting the lawn outside his house, and his 11-year-old daughter helping with the job. He approached Gleason and told him that “God said I need to talk to Amber because she’s going to commit suicide.”
Gleason told him there was nobody by that name in his household, and Gleason’s 62-year-old mother-in-law stepped out to inform the ex-Marine to leave since there wasn’t any Amber in the house. Riley did not threaten them or did anything, he simply left the house and returned to his home in Brandon, Florida.
Then he packed some weapons and returned to the Lakeland home again in the evening when everyone was asleep, because “God told me to kill everyone and to rescue Amber because she’s a victim of sex trafficking.”
Investigators revealed that Riley has 16 certificates in security and tactical training. He packed his truck in a way that would facilitate a quick escape from his targeted house after committing his crime. He slashed the tires of a sedan and a pickup truck packed at the house and ultimately set them on fire after pouring gasoline on them. This fire was to be a diversion in case neighbors came out. He also lit glow sticks to enable him to find his way easily in the night.
The criminal then shot through a window to the front door of the grandmother’s apartment before shooting through the window, killing the Gleason’s mother-in-law in the process. He emptied an entire magazine as he gained entrance into the house, shooting through doors and everything in his path as he made a “methodical search for Amber in the main house.” He also shot the dog twice.
Riley finally found Gleason’s family hiding in the bathroom. He shot severally at the bathroom door, killing Gleason and his spouse, as well as the three-month-old son in her arms. He then took the 11-year-old girl aside to demand Amber. When the kid denied knowledge of any Amber, he tortured her wickedly before shooting her up to seven times.
“You know why I killed your parents? They’re sex traffickers,” Riley told the girl as he tortured her. “I shot her in the legs, then when she wouldn’t tell me where Amber was, I killed her. I asked God if a 12-year-old could be involved in sex trafficking and God told me, yes and that’s when I killed her.”
But the girl did not die, even though she pretended to be dead.
Eventually, five deputies and one Lakeland police officer entered the house and engaged Riley in a shootout. They shot at him up to 59 times, and he also responded with gunfire more than 100 times. Eventually, he removed his bulletproof vest and surrendered with his hands in the air after dumping his guns. A gunshot hit him in the stomach through the side of his bulletproof vest.
“That’s right, he didn’t want to die,” Judd said. “He consciously and intentionally decided. He was an absolute coward. He looks like a man, but he’s not a man, he’s a sniveling coward. He was a big bad dude when he had different firearms and shot and murdered a grandmother. There were no guns in the house. They couldn’t protect themselves if they wanted to.”
The little girl is hospitalized at Tampa General and has undergone four surgeries. Riley was taken into custody, where he confessed to taking methamphetamine. Judd said he was also into illegal steroids. No bonds have been posted for him yet.