Polk County Sheriff releases more details on Lakeland mass murder – CBS Tampa
Polk County, Florida (CW44 News At 10) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has released new information about the family who were shot dead in their home last weekend.
Officials say the man who killed the four family members allegedly told him that there was a girl inside the house who was a victim of sex trafficking and that he needed to save her, but officials say none of that happened inside the house.
“There are no words to adequately describe the anger we all feel about what he did to this innocent family who were simply sleeping in their house,” says Polk County Mayor Grady Judd.
On Thursday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd released more details about what prompted ex-Navy veteran Brian Riley to murder four of his family members at their home last weekend.
“We have a family that is in a state of terror right now and no one should go through it,” Sheriff Judd said.
Sheriff Judd says Riley claims God told him he needed to go to the family home in Lakeland and find and rescue a girl named Amber who was a victim of sex trafficking.
“There were no victims of such crimes in that house,” Sheriff Judd said.
Sheriff Judd says no one was named Amber either, but on Saturday evening, Riley allegedly approached the house and asked the father, Judge Gleason, where Amber was. When he said he didn’t know Amber, Riley left, came back hours later and planned to kill everyone in the house.
“He repositioned his truck three times so he could leave quickly. He searched the house and spent some time locating three entrances,” Sheriff Good said.
He also lined up light sticks from his truck to the backyard of the home’s back entrance.
“So that he can find his way out in case of emergency at night, so if he finds Amber, she can find her way.”
Sheriff Judd says Riley then entered the house and shot Gleeson, his wife, her mother, and her three-month-old son. Then he moved on and found an 11-year-old girl.
“He said I wanted to know where Amber was and he counted down 3, 2, 1, POWs. Sheriff Judd said.
Sheriff Judd says, after hitting her legs, stomach, and hand several times, the little girl played dead and prayed.
“This 11-year-old was very brave and very smart and she outgrew him. Thank God,” Sheriff Judd said.
Sheriff Good says deputies arrived at the scene and shots were fired between them and Riley. Eventually Riley was shot in the stomach and gave up. Sheriff Judd says Riley admitted to using methamphetamine, but officials have yet to confirm this. The 11-year-old has seven holes in her body and is in a stable condition in hospital.
her courage. I cannot stress enough of being able to think of how she survived when I just watched her father, infant brother and stepmother brutally murdered,” Sheriff Judd said.
This investigation is ongoing and we will provide you with more details once we receive it.