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Ex-marine kills four including a baby after claiming to speak 'directly to God'

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Polk County Sheriff/Twitter

A US war veteran has shot four people dead after insisting that he could communicate directly with God. 

Bryan Riley, 33, a United States Marine, was reported to be suffering from worsening mental health issues when he decided to carry out the horrific attack in Lakeland, Florida on Sunday morning. Those killed included a 40-year-old man, a 3-month-old baby and the baby's 33-year-old mother inside the home, along with the baby's 62-year-old grandmother.

The vet, who saw active duty as a sharpshooter in Afghanistan and Iraq, surrendered after being injured in a chaotic shootout with police in which "hundreds of rounds" were reportedly fired. Prior to the attack, he reportedly told his girlfriend that he was communicating directly with God and had been given a vision showing that the daughter of one of his victims was going to commit suicide. He claims that he had to stop this from happening.

According to reports, the night before the attack, when the girlfriend told Riley that he could not speak directly with God, he replied: "There's no room for doubters in my life".

Before shooting the 40-year-old male victim dead, Riley reportedly told him he was attempting to save his daughter, "Amber", from suicide. The man had already told Riley that he did not have a daughter called Amber.

Riley's girlfriend of four told authorities that his behaviour had become increasingly erratic over recent weeks said that he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She added that Riley had been working as a security guard at an Orlando church prior to the incident.

In addition to the fatalities, police say they also discovered an 11-year-old girl with multiple gunshot wounds. She is currently being treated at a local Florida hospital. A dog was also shot dead in the attack.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Riley was "evil in the flesh".

"This man killed four people this morning, tried to kill our deputies and then gave up," he explained.

'It would've been nice if he came out with a firearm,' the Sheriff added. "If he'd given us the opportunity, we'd have shot him up a lot, but he didn't because he was a coward.

"You see, it's easy to shoot innocent children and babies and people in the middle of the night when you've got the gun and they don't...but he was not much of a man." 

Remarking on  Riley's psychological condition, Judd said that the suspect's girlfriend had noticed he was depressed and violent.

"She said he had PTSD. I've seen him depressed. I've never seen him violent, she said," Judd explained. "But a week ago today, meaning last Sunday, he did security at a church in Orlando. And he came home and he said, you know, God spoke to him and now he can talk directly to God. And she said I've never seen that kind of behavior." 

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