POLK COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – In what is normally a fast moving link between parts of rural Lakeland, has since become a slow moving tragic corridor. Investigators continue to comb through corners of a Lakeland family’s home after most of that family was murdered early Sunday morning.
Police say a former Marine outfitted in body armor fatally shot four people at a home on North Socrum Loop Road. Among the victims was a three month old baby, the baby’s 33-year-old mother and grandmother, and a 40-year-old man in what Sheriff Grady Judd is now calling an active shooter rampage.READ MORE: 'We're Ready': Atlanta Officials Say City Is Prepared For Wintry Weather
One victim, an 11-year-old girl, survived that shooting after suffering seven gunshot wounds and was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. She is expected to recover. Another child, Sheriff Judd says, who had earlier been missing was located alive and well. The family’s dog, Diogi, was also fatally shot.
Investigators continued to sift through evidence in the garage of that home where the quadruple homicide happened and could be seen moving around the crime scene all afternoon as they gather more information to piece this tragedy and the moments leading up to it together.
The suspect, 33-year-old Brian Riley lives in Brandon about 20 miles from the victims’ home on Socrum Loop Road. Riley is a former marine sharpshooter who police say engaged in a firefight with officers before surrendering.READ MORE: Sarasota Man Arrested In Connection To Fatal Shooting At Ackerman Park
When deputies interviewed him, the suspect described himself as “a survivalist” and confessed to being on methamphetamines, Judd told reporters Sunday. The suspect’s girlfriend told authorities that he had been diagnosed with PTSD and had been acting erratically in the past week, saying that he could speak directly to god, according to the sheriff. He says there is no connection between the shooter and the victims.
CW44 reached out to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office who said they aren’t releasing any more details at this time. Make sure to stay with CW44 News At 10 on air and online as we continue to follow this developing story.
Watch the full Press Conference with Sheriff Grady Judd.