Chitimacha Police Officer “A True Hero” In St. Mary Parish Shooting
52-year-old Sergeant Rick Riggenback was shot and killed Saturday after 48-year-old Wilbert Thibodeaux of Charenton allegedly went on a shooting spree that not only took Riggenback's life, but also that of 78-year-old Eddie Lyons. Two St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Deputies, 23-year-old Jason Javier and 24-year-old Matthew Strickland, were also shot and remain hospitalized in stable condition, improving and "recovering right along" according to St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert.
Officers responded to a call of a man, later identified as Thibodeaux, walking the streets with a weapon on Saturday. Louisiana State Police spokesperson Stephen Hammons says Sgt. Riggenbach was the first to arrive on the scene in Charenton:
His heroic actions did prevent other people from being injured. He continually made attempts, without getting into specific details, to save the lives of other people. He certainly is a hero.
That's when Thibodeaux allegedly shot and killed him. Hammons says they believe Thibodeaux set ablaze the mobile home that was on fire. Thibodeaux remains jailed in the Iberia Parish Jail--charged with murder and attempted murder of a law officer. His reason for the shooting spree is yet unknown.
Sergeant Riggenback is survived by his wife, Bonnie, three daughters, a son and grandchildren. He spent 15 years in law enforcement, both with the Chitimacha Police Department and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office. Before that, he served in the United States Navy.
Chitimacha Police Chief Blaise Smith not only called Sergeant Riggenback "a true hero" and "a brave police officer," but he also went on to say that "he was a truly amazing friend.”
Deputy Javier has been employed with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office for the past two years. Deputy Strickland had just rejoined the Sheriff's Office this month after having worked there in 2011. They remain in hospitals in Lafayette and New Orleans.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson had this to say as officers across the state mourn the event:
Today, the support of the law enforcement community in the wake of this unimaginable loss was evident. The Chiefs, Sheriffs, Troopers and other law enforcement officials in attendance demonstrate that we will grieve together and that we heal together. We will never forget Sergeant Riggenbach's service and sacrifice, and we pray for the healthy recovery of Deputies Javier and Strickland.
Hammons says State Police continue to investigate the shooting.