Camdyn Rider, a 21-year-old transgender man was eight months pregnant when his partner fatally shot him outside their central Florida home on Friday, July 21, 2023. They lived in the Inwood area of Winter Haven, Florida.
Riley John Groover, 26, of Winter Haven, Florida, allegedly shot and killed himself after shooting his pregnant fiancé “multiple” times in front of witnesses outside of their home last week, according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office obtained by Newsweek on Sunday. The victim’s unborn baby was “unable to be saved” despite efforts by first responders and medical staff at a nearby hospital, the sheriff’s office said.
Camdyn was born and raised in Orlando. According to their social media profile, their pronouns were he/him and they/them. His interests include traveling, concerts, camping, photography, art, music, and books. His social media filled with humor, wit, and wry observations. Among his favorites were paranormal television shows like Supernatural.
And Camdyn was excited to be a father. On June 19, he wrote the following while posting sonogram photos.
ITS A BOYYY!
It’s crazy to imagine that I’m now gonna be a father, especially to a little boy. 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
That’s heart wrenching. It takes my breath away to consider the weight of his anticipation mixed with the pain of violent relationship dynamics. In a post from 2022, Camdyn wrote about his love for his fiance, sharing his hopes and dreams for their relationship. He ended it with “til death do us part” with no guile or foresight, I assume. Just a then-20-year-old in love.
It does not appear Camdyn was close with his biological family; they misgender and deadname him in their social media acknowledgments of his death. No word yet on final arrangements.
Camdyn also posted commentary about relationship struggles, implying challenges with the man who killed him as well as society. It is tempting to read into that to assess the situation, but there is clarity elsewhere in the criminal history of the murderer.
Family reported multiple domestic violence incidents, none were reported to the police. Groover had been previously arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence in incidents that did not involve Rider, the sheriff’s office confirmed to Newsweek. Groover used his mother’s gun to kill his fiance and then himself. How did he have access to her gun, especially after stabbing his own sister? What?
In 2014, Groover had been arrested for firing BB pellets into a home before kicking an officer during his arrest. He spent time in juvenile detention after being convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer.
In 2016, he reportedly broke down a number of doors in a home with a hatchet in a violent rampage, according to court documents.
The home reportedly belonged to a 75-year-old woman who had lived with Groover for 19 years, although it is unclear if they were related.
Groover then allegedly stabbed his sister in the stomach in 2018 over an argument about household chores and the family WiFi being turned off, still according to court records.
But his sister reportedly signed a waiver saying she just wanted her brother to keep taking his medication and continue receiving treatment for autism.
Prosecutors dropped the stabbing case against Groover in 2020 and the court documents reportedly said: “Based on victim’s wishes and proof that the defendant is receiving care from a group home facility to address these needs, the state believes further prosecution is not warranted.”
I wouldn’t normally share that much detail, but it is imperative to realize how vulnerable trans and nonbinary folx are to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV.) In our society of increasing open hostility and violence to trans folx, the risks of violence often follow them home to their families and loved ones.
There are so many red flags here, it takes real effort not to see them. Everyone in this scenario needed help – the murderer, his family, Camdyn’s family, and Camdyn.
According to HRC transgender people experience IPV at rates even higher than their cisgender peers; an analysis of the 2015 United States Transgender Survey found that more than half (54%) of all trans and non-binary people have experienced IPV at some point in their lifetimes. Transgender students also report high levels of physical (26%) and sexual (23%) dating violence, compared to the rates of physical (15%) and sexual (16%) dating violence reported by their cisgender peers.
Some sites report that Camdyn was literally fleeing from their shared home when he was shot to death. Neighbors were trying to help him escape, but it was too late.
Camdyn is the fifteenth trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. He is the third white person and the third trans masculine victim. At age 21, Camdyn is tied for the second youngest victim to date. He’s the third known victim of fatal domestic violence. Seven of the fifteen victims lived in Southern states.
Even as I write this, hateful people are posting vicious and nasty comments on Camdyn’s Facebook profile. It is sickening, but not surprising.
Rest in power, Camdyn. You deserved the happy life you dreamed about and the chance to raise your baby surrounded by supportive people. You defied the odds by coming out as your true self. I am sorry we did not make the world safer for you. I hope the red flags transformed into the rainbow for you and Oliver to move into your next lives.
May your memory be a revolution.
his is our list of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming neighbors who have been victims of the campaign of terror in 2023. Please do not copy, modify, or share this list without attribution.
- Jasmine ‘Star’ Mack – District of Columbia, January 7, 2023. Age 36.
- KC Johnson – Wilmington, North Carolina, January 13, 2023. Age 27.
- Tortuguita – Weelaunee Forest, Georgia, January 18, 2023. Age 26.
- Unique Banks – Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 2023. Age 21.
- Zachee Imanitwitaho – Louisville, Kentucky, February 3, 2023. Age 26.
- Maria Jose Rivera Rivera – Houston, Texas, January 21, 2023. Age 22.
- Cashay Henderson – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 27, 2023. Age 31.
- Tasiyah ‘Siyah’ Woodland – Mechanicsville, Maryland, March 24, 2023. Age 18
- Ashley Burton – Atlanta, Georgia, April 11, 2023. Age 37.
- Rasheeda Williams – Atlanta, Georgia, April 18, 2023. Age 35.
- Banko Brown – San Francisco, California, April 27, 2023. Age 24.
- Ashia Davis – Detroit, Michigan, June 2, 2023. Age 34.
- Chanell Perez Ortiz – Carolina, Puerto Rico, June 25, 2023. Age 29.
- Jacob Williamson – Pageland, South Carolina, July 4, 2023, Age 18.
- Camdyn Rider – Winter Haven, Florida, July 21, 2023. Age 21.