POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The 11-year-old girl who survived being shot multiple times when a gunman attacked her family did so by playing dead.

Sheriff Grady Judd spoke Tuesday evening with members of the media and shared more about how the girl managed to survive the Lakeland attack that claimed the lives of four other people. 

What You Need To Know

He said she told relatives that, after being shot seven times, she played dead and prayed. 

She remains hospitalized in stable condition.

"What she did tell some her relatives, who told us, that’s how she survived. She said, ‘I played dead and I prayed,’" Judd said.

Judd also said suspect Bryan Riley, 33, approached one of the victims on Saturday while he was mowing the lawn.

The interaction prompted Justice Gleason to call 911 but when deputies arrived they could not find Riley.

Authorities said Riley went home to Brandon and then came back to the Lakeland in the middle of the night.

"He confessed later and told us this snippet 'You know, he made me really, really mad so I went home and created this ops plan and you know what that means … if you create an ops plan, you have to kill everybody,'" Judd said.

Gleason, his wife, her mother, and the couple's 3-month-old son were killed in the shooting.

Riley remains in the Polk County jail, facing charges of four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer.

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