A Dallas police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of capital murder, more than a year and a half after a man told investigators he abducted and killed two people on the officer’s instructions in 2017, authorities said.
Bryan Riser, a 13-year veteran of the force, was arrested Thursday morning and taken to Dallas County Jail for treatment, according to a police department statement. A lawyer for Riser could not be identified immediately.
Riser was arrested in the unrelated murders of Liza Saenz, 31, and Albert Douglas, 61, after a man came forward in August 2019 and told police he kidnapped them and killed under Riser’s direction, Police Chief Eddie Garcia said at a press conference. He said investigators did not know the motives for the murders, but that they were unrelated to Riser’s police work.
Garcia did not explain why Riser was arrested nearly 20 months after the witness came forward, and police declined to answer further questions on the time. Riser joined the department in 2008 and Garcia admitted he was patrolling Dallas while under investigation for the murders.
The chief pointed out that his homicide division and the FBI were still investigating the murders and said the department was reviewing Riser’s arrests.
Saenz’s body was removed from the Trinity River in southwest Dallas on March 10, 2017, with multiple gunshot wounds, the chief said. Douglas was reported missing that year and his body has not been found.
Three people had previously been arrested and charged with capital murder in Saenz’s murder, according to an affidavit for Riser’s arrest. He does not identify any of them by name.
One of them reportedly told police that he and Riser had been involved in burglaries when they were young. More recently, they hatched a plan to rob drug stores, but they did not follow it, according to the affidavit.
Instead, the man told investigators that Riser offered to pay him a total of $ 9,500 to kidnap and kill Douglas and later Saenz. The two were shot and their bodies dumped in the river, according to the minutes.
The affidavit states that Riser said hitman Saenz was an “informer.” The document does not give details and police declined to answer questions about whether Saenz had any connection with the department.
The murder charges are not the officer’s first alleged crimes. In May 2017, Riser faced a domestic violence charge for allegedly assaulting and injuring an ex-girlfriend. It was not immediately clear how this case was resolved. Police said Riser “received summary disciplinary action for an incident.”
Riser has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. Garcia said “we will speed up our process” towards his dismissal.
“We will not allow anyone to tarnish this badge,” the chief said.
Riser had not been enrolled in jail as of early Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the sheriff said.
A spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office said her office did not have information on the case.