Community in shock after brutal Polk County killings
LAKELAND, Fla. - The unimaginable happened early Sunday morning.
"This doesn’t happen here and it certainly doesn’t happen this close to home," neighbor Sylvia Shireman said.
Five people were shot, four killed, including a mother and her 3-month-old son. The survivor, an 11-year-old girl, is recovering at a Tampa hospital.
"They don’t even make movies like this because it’s just past what you can wrap your head around, to senselessly harm a child," Shireman added.
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Deputies received calls of a suspicious person Saturday at around 7:30 p.m. They say the suspect was Bryan Riley, 33.
"He said, ‘God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters, Amber.’ At that point in time, the suspect wouldn’t leave," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
When deputies arrived, Riley was nowhere to be found. Nine hours later, gunfire erupted.
"Almost immediately, sheriffs start getting 911 calls of an active shooter," Sheriff Judd said.
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After a shootout with deputies, Riley surrendered.
"When someone gives up, we take them into custody peacefully. If he had given us the opportunity, we'd have shot him up a lot. But, he didn't because he's a coward." Sheriff Judd added.
As of right now, deputies say there’s no connection between the suspect and his victims. Neighbors say this is one of the most chilling details.
"If it was just random, I mean, that could be any of us, anytime. You get to the point where someone knocks on your door, you don’t even want to open it and you don’t want to go out," Shireman said.
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There are reports a search warrant has been served at Riley’s home in Brandon and that the bomb squad was needed.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 35 that the bomb squad was called out Sunday but would not confirm the address it was sent to.
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