His birth name may have been Sylvester, but everybody knew him by his nickname.
“He would always introduce himself as ‘My name is Sylvester Ronald Riley, otherwise known as Pippy,’” his daughter Olivia Riley said.
Olivia Riley, 25, said older family members gave him the nickname when he was young and it just stuck. And the perky name matched his peppy personality. “He was never down about anything,” she said. “It was never a bad day for him.”
He spread his happiness by helping others, volunteering in the kitchen at Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center and always bringing smiles to people’s faces. But that came to an end when he was found mysteriously shot to death in his apartment last month. His daughter is asking the community to come forward with information about his killer.
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A female acquaintance reportedly found Riley, 60, shot to death Oct. 22 at his apartment on the 7100 block of Tama Road at the Elmtree/Georgetown Square Apartments. An autopsy indicated Riley died from a gunshot wound to the upper body sometime Oct 21 or 22.
Olivia Riley said her father moved to the apartment three months ago, and she would visit him once a week.
Capt. Scott McDonald with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said the killing seems like a random act of violence since the victim was a “well-liked guy.”
“We believe strongly he was with someone he was familiar with and felt comfortable with,” he said. “That’s why we feel like this case is very solvable.”
The family has already said their goodbyes, as Riley was buried at Fort Jackson National Cemetery on Friday, but the wounds are still fresh. “The healing process starts when you find out who did it,” she said.
After he graduated from Lower Richland High School in 1974, Riley enlisted in the Army and served seven years. He also served as an Honor Guard for President Jimmy Carter during Carter’s inauguration in 1977.
McDonald said investigators are close to a break but need the community to step up. “We’re just a lead or two away from putting this together,” McDonald said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Robbie Crane at (803) 576-3006 or Crimestoppers at (888) CRIME-SC. All calls are anonymous, and people who leave tips that lead to an arrest of a suspect can earn up to $1,000.