FARGO — Police officers and firefighters went looking for a suicide victim in a south-side apartment Friday morning, Sept. 21, and found the victim already covered by a white sheet, according to Cass County District Court documents.
Examining the body of Kevin Riley Sr., 60, police found evidence he had been in a fight before the shooting. The trajectory of the bullet, which entered his neck just below his right ear, suggested to the coroner that he likely didn’t kill himself, court documents stated.
His son, Christopher Blaine Riley, 34, was charged with murder Monday, Sept. 24. He remained at large Monday night, and there was a warrant for his arrest.
It was the younger Riley who reported the suicide to emergency dispatchers, court documents stated.
If convicted he would face a maximum prison sentence of life without parole, according to prosecutors.
Police believe the shooting took place sometime between Wednesday night, Sept. 19, when Riley Sr. sent an ominous text message to a friend and Friday morning when police found the body.
Christopher Riley is described by police as a white man with brown hair. He’s about 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. Police believe he’s driving a gray 2003 Dodge Ram pickup with a gray topper and Minnesota plates 400NTE. They said he may be armed and warned the public not to approach him. Instead, police said to call them at 701-241-5777.
Christopher Riley has a short criminal record that includes a conviction for criminal trespass in Cass County in 2008.
According to court documents:
Christopher Riley called 911 at 11:22 a.m. Friday to report the suicide at his apartment at 2302 17th St. S., No. 201. He said he was on his way there in the pickup.
When he didn’t show up, police called him. He told them his father, who was homeless, had been living with him and may have been using methamphetamine. He refused to let police search the apartment, claiming he didn’t want any meth found to be pinned on him.
Christopher Riley in a subsequent call said he won’t be coming back after all and would only talk to police by phone.
Police had been to the apartment the night before after a friend of Riley Sr. asked that they conduct a welfare check, but no one came to the door. The friend had received a text message from Riley Sr. in which he said Christopher Riley had pointed a Glock pistol at him and dry fired it eight times.
The message was sent at 10:41 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, but the friend didn’t see the message until the next morning.
Police reported that firefighters, who arrived first Friday, found the body covered with a sheet, suggesting someone had been there. Officers found a pistol with blood on it that they believe was used in the shooting. The Glock was laying on a piece of furniture 6 feet away from the body with the magazine removed.
There were signs a fight had broken out before the shooting.
The coroner reported that there was an abrasion under Riley Sr.’s chin and an injury to his right temple that could have been caused by a blow to the head. Police found a box fan with blood on it and broken pieces nearby.
Christopher Riley has since turned off his phone, and his location is not known, court documents stated.