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Sergeant Rick Riggenbach has been identified as the police officer shot and killed after he and two St. Mary Parish deputies responded to reports of a mobile home fire and an armed subject on Flatown Road, near, Charenton shortly after 9:00 am. The fire was reported just off of tribal land about one quarter mile from a Chitimacha-owned casino.
When Sergeant Riggenbach arrived at the scene, Wilbert Thibodeaux allegedly shot Sergeant Rick Riggenbach with a shotgun, fatally wounding him. Thibodeaux then opened fire on St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Deputies Jason Javier and Matthew Strickland as they arrived at the scene moments later. Both deputies were critically wounded. Thibodeaux, who was also wounded at some point during the incident, was taken into custody by other responding officers and transported to a local hospital.
After the house fire was extinguished the body of its owner, Eddie Lyons, was discovered in the debris. Lyons had been shot and killed. Thibodeaux who started the fire was a neighbor with a history of mental illness.
Sergeant Riggenbach was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department for 4-1/2 years. He had previously served 10-1/2 years with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and grandchildren.
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