POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida man fatally shot four people Saturday night before turning himself in to authorities after getting injured during a shootout with them, investigators said.
Update 8:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 7: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Sunday identified one of the victims of Saturday’s deadly shooting as Justice Gleason, 40. Judd declined to release the names of the other victims, identified as a 33-year-old woman, a 3-month-old boy whom the woman was cradling in her arms at the time of the shooting and the child’s 62-year-old grandmother, citing a state privacy law.
According to The Associated Press, Facebook posts and public records show Gleason was in a relationship with Theresa Lanham and that they had a baby boy, Jody, in May. The Ledger also reported the victims’ identities as Lanham and Jody Gleason, citing Facebook posts.
An 11-year-old girl survived after being shot multiple times during the incident, Judd said Sunday. She was in critical condition on Monday morning at Tampa General Hospital, WTVT reported.
Update 7:39 p.m. EDT Sept. 6: Bryan James Riley, 33, of Brandon, Florida, was ordered held without bail during his first court appearance Monday, WFLA-TV reported.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office online booking records, Riley was charged with:
- Four counts of first-degree murder;
- Seven counts of attempted murder of law enforcement officer;
- Two counts of shooting into a building;
- Two counts of armed burglary with assault/battery;
- Second-degree arson;
- Attempted murder in the first degree with a weapon.
Riley said he will have a private attorney, but for now, he has requested a public defender, according to WFLA.
Sunday’s deadly shooting in Lakeland, Florida, left four people dead: Justice Gleason, 40, of Lakeland; a 33-year-old woman; and a 3-month-old boy whom the woman was cradling in her arms at the time of the shooting. A fourth victim, the child’s 62-year-old grandmother, was also killed.
An 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting remained at Tampa General Hospital in critical condition on Monday morning, WTVT reported.
Update 7:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 5: Authorities have identified the shooter as Bryan J. Riley, 33, of Brandon, Florida, a former Marine sharpshooter who served in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported.
Three of the victims found inside the same home were identified as Justice Gleason, 40, of Lakeland, Florida; a 33-year-old woman; and a 3-month-old boy whom the woman was cradling in her arms at the time of the shooting, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd confirmed during a Sunday afternoon news conference.
A fourth victim, the child’s 62-year-old grandmother, was found shot to death in another home on the same property, the Times reported.
According to CNN, Judd called the slayings an “active shooter rampage” and said Riley’s girlfriend told authorities that he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had been acting erratically for the past week, claiming to receive visions from God.
Judd also confirmed that an 11-year-old girl shot multiple times during the incident is expected to recover after being airlifted to Tampa for surgery and that another child who had been reported missing in the shooting’s aftermath has been located and is safe, the network reported.
Meanwhile, the family’s dog was also killed, Judd confirmed during the news conference.
Investigators have not determined a link between Riley, who works as a bodyguard, and the victims.
Judd, who characterized Riley as “evil in the flesh” and a “rabid animal,” told the Times that at one point Riley told detectives, “They begged for their lives, and I killed them anyway.”
According to the newspaper, Riley tried to grab a police officer’s gun while he was being treated in a hospital emergency room and had to be medicated and restrained.
Deputies also found an 11-year-old girl injured by gunfire in the home. Another woman was fatally shot at a nearby home and investigators are still searching for a child aged 10 or 11.
Deputies were called about a suspicious vehicle and person around 7:30 p.m., WFTV reported.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a woman told investigators the suspicious person told her, “God sent me here to speak to one of your daughters.”
When deputies arrived, the man and vehicle were gone. Deputies searched the area but were unable to find either.
Deputies were responding to another call around 4:30 a.m. when they heard the crack of gunfire several miles away. Deputies arrived to find a vehicle on fire and a popping noise.
“As we approached, we saw an individual totally outfitted and body armor and looked as if he was ready to engage us all in an active shooter situation, but we didn’t see a firearm,” Judd said.
The man ran back inside the house. Deputies then heard gunshots, followed by a woman’s scream and a baby’s whimper.
A lieutenant tried to get into the front of the house but it was barricaded. He ran to the back of the house, got inside and into a gunfight with the suspect. Three other deputies were pinned down by gunfire coming from the front of the house.
Eventually the suspect — who had been shot once — came out with his hands raised and was taken into custody.
Once inside, deputies found an 11-year-old girl who had been shot multiple times. She was taken to a hospital where she is in surgery, WFTV reported.
She told deputies three dead people were inside the home.
Investigators found a man and an infant in the mother’s arms, all shot to death. Deputies went to a house nearby and found another woman fatally shot. Investigators are still searching for another child.
The suspect — who has not been identified — was taken to a hospital, where he tried reaching for a Lakeland police officer’s firearm. The suspect was given medication to incapacitate him.
“This is a horrific incident,” State Attorney Brian Haas said Sunday. “Our community and many families are hurting this morning. We are committed to working closely with law enforcement, getting to the bottom of this. I know there are a lot of questions, more questions than answers at this point. But the bottom line is we’re all going to work together. We’re going to provide support to the families of these victims. And we want answers certainly, but we’re going to get justice for the victims and for our community.”
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