Former Marine Sharpshooter Arrested for Killing Four People, Including Baby, in Florida Shooting ‘Rampage’

A former Marine sharpshooter dressed in full body armor and wielding an automatic weapon allegedly went on an early-morning shooting “rampage” in Polk County, Florida, on Sunday, killing four strangers, including a mother and her baby, and wounding an 11-year-old girl before giving up, authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the suspect, who he identified as Bryan James Riley, 33, of Brandon, Florida, allegedly told investigators the victims “begged for their lives, and I killed him anyway.”

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Riley made his first court appearance on Monday and a judge ordered him to be jailed without bond. During the brief court hearing, Riley said he would hire his own attorney, but the judge said he’ll appoint one until Riley retains a lawyer.

He was arrested on four counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, seven counts of attempted first degree murder on a law enforcement officer, shooting into an occupied dwelling, two counts of armed burglary with battery, arson and cruelty to an animal, according to the probable cause affidavit released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He is being held at the Polk County Jail.

The shooting unfolded before dawn at two adjacent homes on the same property near Lakeland, Florida, about 35 miles east of Tampa. A sheriff’s lieutenant two miles away heard the volley of automatic gunfire, responded to the scene and radioed for backup, Judd said at a news conference on Sunday.

Judd said that nine hours earlier, deputies received a 911 call from the same home and that a woman reported a strange man parked near her residence who allegedly told her he was there because “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters,” Amber, to prevent her from committing suicide. Judd said the woman and another witness told the suspect there was no one by that name who lived at the residence and told him to leave or they were going to call the police.

The sheriff said deputies responded to the 911 call within six minutes, but the man was nowhere to be found.

The sheriff said the same man, who he identified as Bryan James Riley, 33, of Brandon, Florida, returned to the home around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and allegedly unleashed a barrage of fatal gunfire.

“We find zero connection between our shooter, our murderer and our victims,” Judd said.

The sheriff said that when deputies first approached the home where the shooting occurred, they saw a truck on fire and a path leading from the road to the house illuminated by glow sticks.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Bill Hutchinson and Benjamin Stein

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