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Pipersville man appears to be unnamed suspect shot by New Hope police March 3

New Hope Police Station

When a female employee at a popular restaurant/bar on South Main Street in New Hope left through the rear door on the evening of March 3, she didn’t know her ex-boyfriend was lying in wait to confront her, according to a police report.

Brian P. Riling, 38, of Pipersville, had already sent the woman more than 100 text messages that day saying that he wanted her dead, calling her a prostitute, threatening suicide, and asking her to recant prior testimony to police against him, the arrest report said.

Riling was sought by police for burglary, stalking, and harassment of the woman from a previous incident, records show. The two had been dating for two years, but she had been trying to break it off for the previous two months.

Riling had parked his older model pickup truck in the rear lot of another South Main Street business on March 3. When his former girlfriend exited the restaurant, Riling pushed her up against the rear door, and accused her of lying and being a whore, according to the police report. She broke away briefly, and then he grabbed her by the throat and spit in her face, said the report. She screamed, broke away again, and Riling purportedly fled the scene.

At 6:41 p.m., police responded to a call from the victim, who was still at the restaurant. One officer interviewed her in the kitchen, while another went looking for Riling, who continued texting the victim as she spoke with police. She called Riling at the request of police in an attempt to determine his location. A third officer spotted Riling’s pickup in a parking lot at the Tahoe section of the Village 2 community in New Hope, and the other two officers arrived a short time later to take him into custody and transport him to the police station.

Riling was charged with two felonies: intimidation of witnesses or victims to give false or misleading testimony, and retaliation against a witness or victim. He was also charged with stalking, simple assault, harassment, and driving while his license was suspended in relation to a DUI charge.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on March 3, a New Hope police officer fired his weapon at an unnamed man in custody during a scuffle at the police station, according to multiple sources. Court records show no other criminal arrests having taken place that day in New Hope. A source with knowledge of the incident who asked not to be identified confirmed that Riling was indeed the individual shot by one of the three police officers involved in the altercation.

Pennsylvania law allows the use of deadly force by police officers if their lives or those of others are in danger, or when a felon is attempting to escape from custody.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub has refused to provide even the most basic details of the March 3 shooting, only acknowledging that the officer involved was not injured, the man shot was hospitalized, and that he remained in stable condition as of March 8. Local police and public officials have been effectively gagged while county detectives investigate.

Weintraub is currently prosecuting the case against Jacob Sullivan, who is facing a potential death penalty after pleading guilty last month to the rape, murder and dismemberment of 14-year-old Grace Packer in Richland Township in 2016. He won’t release any information on the March 3 New Hope shooting until the Sullivan case wraps up, possibly next week.

“He wants to give it his full attention, and it would not be fair to divide his attention between this and the sentencing phase for the Sullivan trial,” explained a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office on March 21.

The Bucks D.A.’s Office remained silent on Tuesday, refusing to confirm or deny that Riling was the suspect shot on March 3.

“Were not going to have any comment at this time,” said a spokesperson for the D.A.

Riling could not be reached for comment, and his criminal lawyer, Richard Fink, had no comment.

Riling is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing before Judge Maggie Snow on April 15.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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