Florida Man Charged With 4 Murders in Random Home Attack, Could Face Death Penalty

A Florida man facing four first-degree murder charges in a random home attack in which he fatally shot a family could get the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

Bryan Riley has been formally charged by a grand jury in a 22-count indictment that includes the murder charges as well as attempted murder for repeatedly shooting an 11-year-old girl who survived the Sept. 5 attack by playing dead. He is also facing charges of kidnapping, arson, burglary, and animal cruelty for killing the family dog.

Investigators said Riley told them he had "tortured" the girl after allegedly shooting four other members of her family, including her father and his girlfriend. Riley had falsely believed a sex trafficking victim by the name of "Amber" was at the home and questioned the 11-year-old on Amber's whereabouts.

"He asked her, 'Where's Amber?'" Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters earlier this month. "He counted down, 3, 2, 1, and he shot her."

Court documents show the indictment was filed Tuesday in Polk County Circuit Court. Prosecutors have not announced yet whether they will seek the death penalty.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Bryan Riley
A Florida man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the random home attack that killed four people, and could be facing the death penalty if convicted. Bryan Riley, 33, was charged by a grand jury on Sept. 21, 2021. Mugshot/Polk County Sheriff's Office

Riley is being held without bail and has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

Judd previously said Riley had been told by God to rescue a purported child victim.

Riley chanced upon the family after seeing a man mowing his lawn with a young girl out in the yard that he thought might be the trafficking victim, Judd said.

Officials say Riley, wearing body armor, had three weapons with him and fired at least 100 shots in the main home and a smaller one in back where Catherine Delgado, 62, was the first to be killed.

Law enforcement officers fired about 60 shots in a gun battle that left Riley with a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen. Riley surrendered after that.

The victims are Justice Gleason, 40; his 33-year-old girlfriend, Theresa Lanham; their baby boy, Jody, who was born in May; and Delgado, who was Lanham's mother and owned the property. Gleason's daughter survived despite several gunshot wounds.

Riley served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan and was working as a security guard in the Lakeland area, including at a church. After that recent job, his girlfriend of four years told investigators Riley began talking about communication with God but not about violence.