A 11-year old girl was saved by seven bullets.
Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff, stated during a press conference Sunday that Bryan Riley, 33 years old was still aggressive after he was arrested on Sunday morning. He tried to wrestle a gun from officers as he lay on a hospital gurney.
Judd stated that Riley, a former Marine, was a sharpshooter in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also appeared to have mental health problems and seemed to have targeted victims randomly. Judd stated that Riley's girlfriend, Riley, told authorities that Riley was slowly falling apart for several weeks and that he could communicate with God directly.
Judd stated Riley's words to them during interrogation: "They begged for my life and I killed them anyway."
Investigators have determined that Justice Gleason, 40, was a random stranger who happened to be mowing his lawn Saturday night. Riley drove past his Lakeland home about 30 miles (48.28 km) east of Tampa and said God had told him to stop as Gleason’s daughter was about to commit suicide.
Judd stated that Riley was also confronted by an unidentified second person. He told Riley the story wasn't true, and threatened to call police if Riley didn't go. He called the other person a victim, but declined to specify which one.
Riley was not found by authorities who responded to the call.
Around 4:30 a.m. Riley returned to the house around nine hours later. He laid out glowsticks to make a path to the house in order to draw officers into an "ambush," Judd stated.
Randomly, a lieutenant from a distance heard popping sounds and put the agency into active-shooter mode. This brought all the state and local law enforcement to the scene.
After hearing gunfire, authorities arrived at Riley's home to find Riley's white truck on fire and Riley, unarmed, outside wearing camouflage.
Riley ran immediately inside and authorities heard "a woman screaming and a baby crying" Judd say.
Officers attempted to gain entry to the front of the house but were stopped by barricades. They circled back to find Riley, who was wearing full body armor, including knee and head coverings, and a bulletproof vest.
According to the sheriff, there was heavy gunfire between the authorities, with many "if not hundreds" of rounds fired before Riley fled the scene.
Judd stated that everything fell silent until a helicopter unit alerted authorities at the ground that Riley was about to emerge. He was already wounded and ready to surrender.
Officers heard the cries for help from the house, but they were not sure if there were any additional shooters or if the home was booby-trapped. The brave sergeant ran in and grabbed the girl, who had been shot at most seven times.
Judd stated that she told the deputies that there were three people dead inside. Judd also said that she was rushed to surgery and expected to survive.
To check for explosives or other traps, deputies sent robots to the house. They found Gleason, the 33-year old mother, the baby, and the grandmother of the baby, who lived in a separate house nearby. Authorities did not release Gleason's identity and did not specify if or how he was related with the other victims.
Authorities refused to give details about the number of victims or the location they were at the time, but stated that they were hiding in fear and were huddled together. The dog in the family was also shot to death.
Authorities claimed Riley's girlfriend of 4 years, who he shared a home with, was cooperative. They were shocked to learn that Riley was not violent, but had PTSD and had become more erratic.
He said that he had spent the week stockpiling supplies for Hurricane Ida victims.
"Prior this morning, this man was a war hero. Judd said that he fought for his country in Afghanistan, and Iraq. "And this morning, he's cold-blooded murderer."
Riley, who has no criminal record, told authorities that he was also on methamphetamines. Authorities said that his vehicle was also stocked with supplies to fight a gunfight. They even had bleeding control kits.
Riley, while being treated at the hospital was jumping up and trying to grab an officer’s gun.
Judd stated that Riley was eventually tied down and given medication.
He is expected to make a full recovery and be transferred to jail for his trial.
Brian Haas, State Attorney of Wisconsin, stated that "The big question all of us have is, Why?'". "We won't know what the future holds today, or perhaps ever."