Man in standoff acquired weapon arsenal, body armor, was being watched by FBI

A man who killed himself sometime Tuesday during a 13-hour standoff with Riverside police was being monitored by the FBI and had an arsenal of guns and accessories, including a drum magazine similar to the one used in the Oregon District shooting.

On Tuesday, police said John Reese’s mother reported her son had pulled a gun on her and assaulted her the day before during an argument over him buying a large amount of guns and body armor.

The reported prompted officers to show up around 4 p.m. Tuesday at Reese’s Gleneagle Drive home, which he occupied with his mother.

Riverside Maj. Matt Sturgeon said he believes Reese, 40, would have continued down a “spiraling path” and would have continued to acquire weapons.

“It’s hard to tell what’s going on in a person’s psyche,” Sturgeon said. “But because of what we knew about him, we could see a propensity for violence.”

When Riverside police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s SWAT team arrived at the home, Reese would not come outside. The standoff ended around 5 a.m. Wednesday when police entered the home.

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Police found that Reese had shot himself.

Reese had probably been dead for about eight hours at that point, Sturgeon said. His last blog post was posted around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The only comment on the post was from the sheriff’s office, asking Reese to talk with law enforcement.

Reese never responded. Reese also never answered his phone or any verbal attempts by the SWAT team to reach him.

Police pulled more than 20 guns out of the home. Police also found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, body armor and other tactical gear, Sturgeon said.

Who was Michael Reese?

Sturgeon said Reese’s mother told her son that he could not use her credit cards and he got angry, prompting the assault. When asked what he was buying with her card, Reese said he bought body armor and guns.

Reese choked his mother and she was visibly bruised. In a statement to police, the woman said Reese told her “he was ready to die” and “hates his life.”

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Reese was being monitored by the FBI, Sturgeon said, so the Riverside police knew immediately who the mother was talking about when she came to the police department.

“What he was saying (online) in general was very violent, to the point where the FBI actually came out and visited with him,” Sturgeon said.

A spokesman said the FBI was “unable to comment” on the matter.

In an online blog, Reese made ominous posts saying he was in a militia, saying he wanted to die and posting pictures online with firearms. Many posts referenced the Bible. Reese posted from the name “Archangel Michael.”

Reese’s mother was not in the home during the standoff. Sturgeon said she is staying with a friend until her home is cleaned up and repaired.

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She had a protection order against her son from April of 2017 to April of 2018 following a domestic violence incident in 2017.

The protection order states that Reese held his mother down, hit her and spit on her.

Reese was previously charged for that domestic violence incident, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. He was also charged with domestic violence in 2013, but the case was dismissed in Montgomery County Municipal Court.

The standoff

Sturgeon said it is not typical for a standoff to last that long.

Neighbors on Gleneagle Drive had to hunker down in their homes for hours during the standoff.

Dispatch records indicate that police found Reese with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the coroner’s office has not made an official ruling on his cause of death.

Kevin Burris, who lives next door to Reese, said SWAT deputies were in his backyard and inside an upstairs bedroom all night long.

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“They were trying to get a better view, so we had one of them in the house all night long looking through the bedroom window,” Burris told News Center 7’s Kayla Courvell. “It was a little tense.”

Burris, his wife and their three grandchildren were advised to stay in their basement and away from the side of their house closest to their neighbor, he said.

Burris said he had “no idea” his neighbor had so many weapons.

“It’s a little scary. You never know what he might do,” Burris said. “If he was violent with her, he could be violent with anybody in this neighborhood.

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