(Trends Wide) — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters Thursday that the former marine who allegedly killed four people, including a baby, on Sunday morning outside Lakeland, Florida, was searching for a girl who he believed she was suicidal and that she was a victim of sex trafficking.
During a press conference Thursday, Judd said this accusation was patently false because there were no victims of sex crimes in the home.
Suspect Bryan Riley appeared Monday before Judge Heather Beato, who ordered his detention without bail on four counts of murder, according to 10th Circuit Court Administrator Nick Sudzina. Riley has been appointed a public defender and will be being held at the Polk County Jail, according to Sudzina.
Trends Wide contacted the public defender’s office several times this week and has yet to receive a response.
Judd said Riley had stopped by a friend’s house Saturday to pick up a first aid kit and said he planned to go help with Hurricane Ida. According to Judd, Riley left the house of his friend, who lived in the area of the crime scene, around 7:10 p.m.
According to Judd, Riley told investigators that he ran into Justice Gleason, who was mowing the lawn, and said, “Hey, God told me I need to talk to Amber because she’s going to kill herself.”
After Gleason told Riley that no one by the name of Amber lived in her house, the grandmother left, threatening to call the police, and Riley left “very upset,” said Judd, who also said that a girl from 11-year-old, who was injured but did not die in the shooting, was also in the yard with Gleason.
“Now we know … that when our suspect left, Riley, he was very angry. He was very angry with Justice because he thought he had prevented him from seeing this girl Amber who was going to commit suicide,” Judd said.
Riley told investigators it was at this point that “God told me to kill everyone and rescue Amber because she is a victim of sex trafficking,” Judd said.
At this point, Riley went home and, according to Judd, argued with his girlfriend about whether or not he could speak and listen to God directly, “but he never mentioned the violence.”
Judd said video from Riley’s neighborhood shows him leaving his home around 1:00 a.m. in his F-150 pickup with a large shoulder bag. Riley told police he returned to the scene to “scout outside the house by moonlight.”
After inspecting the property, Riley punctured the tires of two vehicles outside the home and set one of them on fire. He then put the glow sticks all over the property, according to Judd.
“He explained that they were to be able to find the exit in case of emergency at night and so that, if he found Amber, she could find a way to escape from this house where she was the victim of a sex crime. This is all fiction. All made up. for him, “Judd said, adding,” There were no victims of sex crimes in that house. “
Riley first broke into Grandma’s apartment by shooting through a window and ultimately killing her, Judd said. Riley then allegedly broke into the main house by shooting through the back door. According to the sheriff, he shot the family dog twice in the bedroom and then shot and killed Gleason, his 33-year-old partner, and their three-month-old baby who were hiding in the bathroom.
According to Judd, Riley found the 11-year-old hidden between the closet and the toilet and shot her multiple times after demanding that she tell where “Amber” was.
Riley told deputies that “I tortured her to investigate, to find Amber” and revealed that when she couldn’t tell him where she was, “I took her out,” Judd said.
According to Judd, the 11-year-old then “played dead and prayed.” “And that’s why she’s alive today,” Judd said. It also reported that the 11-year-old girl suffered seven gunshot wounds and has undergone four surgeries. “We don’t know if it’s seven separate shots or if it’s a total of seven holes from shots going in and out,” Judd said.
When deputies arrived at the scene, a series of shootings ensued during which Riley suffered a wound to the abdomen. Finally, Riley took off his bulletproof vest, lowered his three guns and turned himself in to authorities, Judd explained.
In all, Judd said five deputies and a Lakeland police officer fired about 59 times. Riley, he said, shot more than 100 times “and we’re still counting,” according to Judd.
Judd noted that Riley then “confessed to the horrible tragedy he did one Sunday morning,” finally admitting on the way to the hospital that he had taken methamphetamine. Judd indicated that authorities have found evidence of illegal steroid use as well.
Judd said the crime scene, which he called “the most extensive crime scene we’ve worked on that I can remember,” is still being processed.
Riley’s girlfriend told authorities that the former Marine had no history of violence and had not exhibited “any strange behavior” until days before the shooting. According to Judd, the girlfriend said Riley started acting strange after she worked security at a church and “came back with this obsession of being able to speak directly to God and have God respond to her directly.”
Judd said that so far, Riley has shown no sign of remorse.