Florida police ripped the gunman who surrendered after he allegedly slaughtered four strangers as a “coward,” saying they hoped he came outside with guns blazing — so they could have “shot him up a lot.”
Former U.S. Marine Bryan Riley, 33, was clad in camouflage and body armor and claimed he was high on meth when he allegedly went on the random killing spree in Lakeland early Sunday, claiming four lives, including a mother and her 3-month-old baby boy, authorities said.
Responding deputies initially found Riley unarmed outside the home — but then he went back inside and “we heard another volley, and a woman scream, and a baby whimper,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Riley got into a brief gunfight with a lieutenant from inside the home — and once the lieutenant retreated, fired at deputies outside, WLTX reported.
Then he came out unarmed and surrendered to police.
“It would have been nice if he would have come out with a gun,” Judd said. “We would have shot him up a lot. But he didn’t because he was a coward. When someone chooses to give up, we take them into custody peacefully.”
Riley later tried to grab one cop’s gun while being treated in the hospital for his own gunshot wound, before being subdued again, according to Judd.
Justice Gleason, 40, was killed during Riley’s rampage, in addition to a 33-year-old woman and a 3-month-old baby who was found dead in her mother’s arms.
An 11-year-old girl was also shot at least seven times and is miraculously expected to survive. She alerted deputies to the other victims.
In the home next door, Riley shot and killed the 62-year-old mother of the woman — as well as the family dog, Judd said.
“[Riley] said at one point to our detectives, ‘They begged for their lives and I killed them anyway’,” Judd said.
Neighbors told him nobody by that name lived there. They told him to leave and reported his suspicious behavior to police.
By the time police arrived Saturday night, he had already fled.
His girlfriend told police he had begun acting erratically after working security last week at an Orlando church and declaring God was speaking to him.
The horrific violence came about nine hours after the suspect visited the same neighborhood and said: “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters, Amber.”
Riley was a Marine for four years before being honorably discharged and spending three years in the Reserves, WLTX reported.
He completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the report.
Riley’s girlfriend said he suffered from PTSD, but was never violent around her.
“He was a decorated military veteran,” Judd said. “And this morning, he’s a cold, calculated murderer.”
With Post wires