WINCHESTER — Homicide victim Kevin Michael Riley was known for his goofy sense of humor and was beloved by friends and family.
“Our family is shattered because someone thought they could play God,” Riley’s older sister Crystal Pruitt said as she sobbed on Thursday. “Our family is broken and we will never be the same. My little brother was my life.”
Pruitt said her brother went to the Okinawa Hibachi Japanese restaurant at 571 Adams Drive on Wednesday night to meet a friend who was inside the restaurant for dinner before being shot. The shooter was waiting for Riley in the parking lot in a blue BMW SUV, according to Winchester police. Witnesses said the shooter fired one shot from inside the BMW as Riley got out of the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Cobalt that was driven by a friend. The BMW, which had a Maryland license plate, then fled the scene.
Witnesses told The Winchester Star that Riley, a 29-year-old city resident, was shot once in the chest and collapsed shortly afterward. He was pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center.
The shooter remained at large Thursday night, but police spokeswoman Lt. Amanda R. Behan said investigators have a suspect but are not identifying him. She said two other cars that fled the scene after the shooting were not involved in the killing.
Riley was on probation for a 2017 conviction for marijuana distribution regarding 12 pounds of marijuana and $18,000 in cash found in his car in 2016. Police on Wednesday night searched the Cobalt for drugs, according to a search warrant affidavit written by Detective Carl C. Barlow. He said the search was due to a drug-sniffing police dog indicating drugs were in the car.
But Behan said no drugs were found in the vehicle. She added that the motive for the slaying is uncertain at this time and described the shooter as an "acquaintance" of Riley's.
Riley, who grew up in Winchester and graduated from Handley High School, was the youngest of four children in a tight-knit family, according to Pruitt. He worked as an HVAC technician at Riley Multi-Services, his father's company.
Riley had no children, but he was devoted to his two nieces and two nephews. Pruitt said he never missed their after- school events such as beauty pageants or ball games.
"He loved his family with every ounce of his being," she said. "He helped raise his nieces and nephews like they were his own."
Riley was a devoted fan of the Washington Football Team and was also a Washington Nationals fan. Pruitt said her brother was always looking to make people laugh and was the life of the party. On Facebook, he went by the nickname "Deuce Bigalow," a reference to a 1999 slapstick comedy movie about an aquarium cleaner turned gigolo.
Around Winchester, Riley was well-known and well-liked. Within hours of his death, dozens of people posted condolences on Facebook. Some included videos of Riley, which spotlighted his lighthearted nature. One shows him singing an ear-splitting rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."
"You were loved by so many people," one friend wrote. "I will cherish all the memories we have."
Riley played on a kickball team at Winchester's Jim Barnett Park and Pruitt said she last saw him there on Tuesday night. Pruitt said she can't imagine why anyone would want to kill her brother.
"Everyone loved my brother," she said. "I have no idea why someone would think it's OK to take him from a family that loved him more than life."