Riner’s killing in December 2022 stunned his family, friends and coworkers. At his memorial service at Lawrenceville’s North Metro Baptist Church, hundreds of people gathered to remember him as a one-of-a-kind character with a terrific sense of humor, who was well-liked even by the inmates in his custody during his time working in corrections.
Riner had a pet catfish and was known to spend weekends driving a tractor on his farm in Monticello with nothing on but a pair of camo cargo shorts.
In the 12 years he spent working at the Gwinnett County Comprehensive Correctional Complex, he mentored many of the inmates he oversaw and tried to steer them toward productive lives after prison, former coworkers told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. John Starks, a former inmate who was on one of Riner’s work details, said the pair became hunting and fishing buddies after he got out of prison. He credited Riner with helping him build a solid foundation to start a new life.
Yahya Ali Abdulkadir of Dacula was arrested days after the shooting and later indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Riner worked in sales and marketing before becoming a corrections officer, a job he took because he relished the chance to help folks out of tough situations.
He was also adored by his wife of 22 years, Elana, and her two children, who he embraced as his own.
“A hundred years from now,” Riner once wrote on Facebook, “it won’t matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the kind of truck I drove. But the world will be a better place because I was important in the lives of my two kids.”
- Staff writer Tyler Estep contributed to this report.