Screenshot of WTSP-TV video (Left: Camdyn Rider | Right: Riley John Groover)
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News of a "double murder suicide" in Florida has made the rounds on social media, not necessarily because of the grisly nature of the crime but for the way it has been reported. Law & Crime, a respected media outlet that shares information about various criminal cases around the country, described the incident in Florida using the phrase "pregnant boyfriend."
"Man allegedly shot and killed his pregnant boyfriend and then himself in murder-suicide," read the headline from Law & Crime.
The details of the incident are appalling. Around 7 p.m. on Friday evening, 26-year-old Riley John Groover reportedly shot 21-year-old Camdyn Rider, a woman who identified as a man and who was eight months pregnant at the time. Groover then apparently turned the gun on himself.
Despite the best efforts of first responders and medical teams at a nearby hospital, Rider's unborn child was "unable to be saved," said a statement from the Polk County Sheriff's Office. "At this stage in the investigation it’s clear that this is a domestic-related double murder suicide," the statement added.
Though deputies did not release the names of the deceased, Groover's mother reported their names and gave some background information about the couple. Groover's mother, who did not wish to give her name, claimed that Rider and her son were engaged and lived with her in Winter Haven, Florida, east of Lakeland. She said Groover and Rider loved each other "very much" but that their relationship occasionally became "volatile," WTSP reported, especially when arguing over household chores. Groover's mother suspects that yet another argument about housework may have led to the deadly violence on Friday night.
Deputies claimed that Groover shot Rider "multiple" times before taking his own life, and his mother claimed Groover used her gun to do so. He had a history of violence, though not necessarily with Rider, and was convicted of several offenses, including battery on a law enforcement officer, several years ago when he was still a juvenile. Family members claimed that arguments between Groover and Rider had become physical on occasion, but law enforcement never received reports of domestic violence between the two.
Several media outlets have attempted to skirt the issue of Rider's so-called gender identity by using genderless terms like "person" and "partner" to describe her. Newsweek used male pronouns in reference to Rider, but Law & Crime appears to be the only major outlet that called her Groover's "pregnant boyfriend." Law & Crime also called her a "transgender man," as did other outlets.
A Facebook account believed to have been Rider's indicates that she preferred both "he/him" and "they/them" pronouns. On June 19, Rider shared photos taken at a gender reveal party for her unborn child. "ITS A BOYYY!" Rider posted. She and Groover intended to name the baby Oliver John Lee.
"It's crazy to imagine that I'm now gonna be a father, especially to a little boy," Rider said. "But man I'm so excited and couldn't be happier, I couldn't be happier to be doing it with you Riley Groover. Thank you for loving me, and thank you for this baby boy!! Oliver John Lee will be loved by many! I can't wait for this journey with you my love[.] And I can't wait to meet our oli bear."
The deaths remain under investigation.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.