Richard Bliss was identified by sheriff’s officials as the initial shooter in a workplace shooting incident that left Bliss dead and two other people wounded.
The complex incident unfolded on March 12, 2018 at Bliss Enterprises of Plant City, Inc. The workplace shooting occurred in Plant City, Florida. The dead man’s name was also given as Richard Paul Bliss.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shooting Unfolded in a Dispute Over Staying on the Property, Authorities Say
Colonel Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department said in a news conference that the workplace shooting unfolded around 4 p.m. when 911 calls came in reporting a shooting on the property of Bliss Enterprises.
When deputies responded, they found one subject who was shot and deceased – later identified as Richard Bliss – and they found two other individuals who were shot and subsequently transported to the hospital. Both are alive, and authorities were awaiting word on their condition.
Once authorities investigated, they learned that the dispute centered around people being on the property. “It appears the decedent was having a discussion with the two other subjects who were shot. There had been an ongoing dispute with being on this property for several weeks,” Lusczynski said in the news conference.
According to ABC Action News, “One of the men was living on the property as a tenant and he had an ongoing dispute with Bliss surrounding his being asked to vacate the premises several times in the recent past.”
2. Bliss Shot Two People & Their Relative Shot Him, Police Say
Although Richard Bliss was the person who ended up dead as a result of the mass shooting, according to sheriff’s officials, he fired first.
“The decedent took out a firearm and shot the individuals,” said the colonel. Another relative heard the shots, went inside the building, and shot Bliss in response, she alleged.
“They were staying on the property here. It’s Bliss Enterprises,” she said of the people in a dispute with Bliss. It’s not clear why the people were staying on the Bliss property, and authorities did not release the names of the other people involved in the incident. The other people shot were 44 and 45.
Loved ones posted tributes to Richard Bliss on his Facebook page, with one woman writing, “Rest Easy, Richard you will be missed. Say hi to my daddy for me. See you when I get there. I Love you, Richard.” Bizarrely, 16 weeks before the crime, a man wrote on the cover photo of Bliss: “Killer shot Richard.”
3. Bliss Enterprises Builds Barns
According to ABC Action News, Bliss Enterprises “is a family owned construction company that has been building barns since 1982.”
According to the Better Business Bureau, the business was started in 1996 in Plant City, Florida, and Richard Bliss was listed as the president.
4. It’s Not Clear Whether Anyone Will Face Criminal Charges
Sheriff’s officials are still investigating to determine whether the other person who fired shots will face criminal charges.
Plant City, where Bliss’ business was located, is an unincorporated area located in Hillsborough County, Florida. The Bliss company is described as a “rural construction company.”
Bliss said on Facebook that he was single and from Lakeland, Florida. On Facebook, Bliss posted inspirational comments about cancer and mental health awareness and shared graphics with inspirational sayings.
5. Bliss Has a Criminal History in Florida
Mugshot databases show that a Richard Paul Bliss with the same date of birth as that given out by sheriff’s officials, has had trouble with the law in Florida previously. The mugshot databases chronicle a varied litany of offenses.
Over the years Bliss was accused of openly carrying a weapon, trespassing, domestic violence battery, violation of repeat violence, fraudulent urine testing, and aggravated assault with a firearm, according to Florida online court records.
This story will be updated as more information is learned about the shooting and about Richard Paul Bliss.