LAKELAND, USA – A former US Navy sniper who served in the Afghanistan killed four people, including a child, in two houses near Lakeland, in Florida, at dawn this Sunday, 5.
The sniper, who also injured an 11-year-old girl, surrendered after being shot at least once during two gun battles with police officers in a residential neighborhood in Polk County, Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters.
Three of the victims – a 40-year-old man, a 33-year-old woman and a 3-month-old boy that the woman was carrying in her arms – were found inside a house, authorities said. A fourth victim, the child’s 62-year-old grandmother, was found gunned down in another house on the same property.
Investigators could not immediately say what motivated the attack, which they said began at around 4:30 am (local time, 5:30 am in Brazil).
They identified the shooter as 33-year-old Bryan Riley, a resident of Brandon, Florida. He was taken into custody by police officers wearing tactical equipment while a helicopter hovered over the scene. No police were injured.
Judd told a news conference that Riley was experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress and he wore armor and camouflage when he barricaded himself inside one of the houses. There was no known connection between the victims and Riley, who works as a bodyguard, Judd said.
“But he told our detectives at one point, ‘They begged for their lives and I killed them anyway,’” Judd said Sunday afternoon. “He’s bad in the flesh. He was a rabid animal. ”
Judd identified the man who was killed as Judge Gleason of Lakeland but did not release the names of the other victims. A family dog was also killed.
While Riley was being treated in a hospital emergency room, he tried to take a gun from a police officer and had to be medicated and restrained, Judd said.
The 11-year-old girl was flown to Tampa, about 35 miles southwest of Lakeland, and is expected to recover even after being shot seven times, Judd said. “She looked our agents in the eye and said, ‘There are three more dead in the house,’” Judd said. /NYT