The Dallas Police Department took a veteran officer, Bryan Riser, into custody on Thursday morning, charging him with two counts of capital murder.
In a press conference Thursday, the department said Riser was awaiting transport to the Lew Sterrett Justice Detention Center.
On the force since 2008, Riser was assigned to the South Central patrol division. Now, the department will move forward with firing him. "This individual has no business wearing this uniform," Dallas police Chief Eddie Garcia told reporters.
Although he’s in custody, he is now part of an expedited internal affairs investigation. The criminal investigation dates to 2017 and the death of two unrelated murder victims.
A witness passed information to the police department implicating Riser in both murders. The first occurred on March 10, 2017; officers found the body of 31-year-old Lisa Saenz in the Trinity River near 200 Santa Fe Ave. She was shot several times.
According to NBC, three people were arrested and charged for Saenz murder in September that year: 28-year-old Kevin Kidd, 31-year-old Emmanuel Kilpatrick and 35-year-old Jermon Simmons.
On Aug. 14, 2019, a witness told law enforcement they’d kidnapped and murdered Saenz at the direction of Riser. They were also instructed to kidnap and murder another suspect, Albert Douglas, according to DPD.
Douglas was reported missing by his family in February 2017. Witnesses say Douglas was also killed on the 200 block of Santa Fe Ave., but his body was never recovered.
Also in 2017, Riser was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault based on a complaint from an ex-girlfriend. The department said Riser was investigated and disciplined for this incident but provided no further details.
Riser’s alleged involvement in the murders is still being investigated. He’s now on administrative leave. As for his relationship with the victims, DPD would only say that one of them was an acquaintance. The motive is still unknown.
“There’s an old adage in police work that says ‘No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop,’” Garcia said. “We hire individuals from the human race, and when we find individuals such as this, it’s the actions that we take afterward that we should be judged by. We will hold ourselves accountable to the highest levels.”
Garcia said the murders had no connection to Riser’s work at the department. “They were related to his off-duty conduct,” Garcia said. However, he added the department will be looking into Riser’s conduct as a police officer, including his arrests, to make sure everything is up to snuff.
“We have committed to you in taking the criminal elements off of the streets of Dallas, to perform relentless follow-up on anyone who does harm to this city, and that includes within the walls of this police department,” Garcia said.
Riser has been under investigation for murder since 2017, but Garcia said he didn’t become a suspect until 2019. Of the fact that Riser was serving the city while under investigation for murder, the chief said “terminology is important.” Until a witness came forward connecting Riser to the murders, police didn’t have enough evidence to consider him more than just a person of interest.
“I think the community should know that this police department wants to be as thorough as possible because we certainly don’t want someone slipping through the cracks that has no business wearing this uniform,” Garcia said.