In the early hours of Sunday, a man entered the home of an unfamiliar family in Lakeland, Florida, and perpetrated a massacre in which four people died, including a baby of only three months while his mother, also murdered, held him in her arms. Only an 11-year-old girl managed to survive, who is in critical but stable condition.
The police arrived on the scene and managed to injure the attacker, who finally surrendered and is now in prison, without bail, charged with four counts of first-degree murder, in addition to other crimes.
The only victim identified so far has been Justice Gleason, a 40-year-old man, that hours before he was quietly mowing the lawn in the backyard of his house, when he saw a stranger approaching who was hanging around the neighborhood and who stopped his vehicle to tell him that God had asked him to stop there because a girl named Amber, supposedly Gleason’s daughter was going to commit suicide.
Another person, whose identity has not been released but ended up being another of the victims, told the stranger that this was not true, that no Amber lived there and that he would call the police if she did not leave. The agents came, but the stranger had already left. They could not imagine that this man would return to the same house at dawn to kill them all, including the dog.
“Like a giant child in the body of a man”
Miranda Watson, Justice Gleason’s ex-partner and who shares a four-year-old daughter, remembers him as a helpful and laid-back person. “He always had a smile on his face,” he said.
At the time, when they met, he helped her out of a complicated relationship. And he was always an incredible father to his daughter, who now will not have him in her life, he lamented on Facebook.
Gleason loved to fish, spend time with his children, and listen to music, especially Lynyrd Skynyrd and Chris Stapleton. He loved to sing and play the guitar and taught his children to play, Miranda said, according to a newspaper report. The Washington Post.
On a trip to the beach together, Watson recalled how Glesason spent a lot of time hunting for shells with the children and drew a tattoo on one of them with a marker on one arm at the hotel.
“He was like a giant child in the body of a man,” he recalled.
Although the police have not identified the rest of the victims of this massacre, on Miranda Watson’s own Facebook page, as well as in other posts and accounts of the social network, it can be known that Justice Gleason had started a new family with Theresa Lanham, with whom she had just had a baby, little Jody, who was born this May. He was barely three months old.
The couple lived in the house of the Theresa’s mother, Catherine Delgado, who also resided there, in the back. The 11-year-old girl who survived the massacre was a daughter of Gleason from a previous relationship.
The perpetrator of the massacre was identified as Bryan Riley, a 33-year-old former marine who served missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The man said he was high on methamphetamine.
This Monday, Riley had his first appearance in court, where he was charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, armed robbery with assault. , arson, cruelty to an animal and shooting in an inhabited home. He was jailed without bail while the trial takes place.
According to the legal document, Riley’s fiancee, who is collaborating with authorities, said that he had never been violent but suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder And that he had started acting strange since he came back from working security at an Orlando church last week.
In questioning with the police, Riley confessed to shooting and murdering several people. According to him, he did it because the voices in his head were asking him to.
When asked why he shot the baby, the man replied: “Because I am a sick man. I want to confess everything and be sent to prison.”
According to the case documents, Riley said the victims had asked him to stop until the last minute, but he kept shooting.
Riley confirmed to police that he did not know the victims. It was a random massacre.