Sergeant Rick Riggenbach Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police End of Watch: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sergeant Rick Riggenbach | Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, Tribal PoliceChitimacha Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police

Sergeant Rick Riggenbach

Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police
End of Watch: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Biographical Info

Age: 52
Tour of Duty: 15 years
Badge Number: T506

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: January 26, 2013
Weapon Used: Shotgun
Suspect Info: Charged with murder

Agency Contact Information

Police Chief Blaise Smith
Chitimacha Tribal Police Department
211 Coushatta Drive
PO Box 700
Charenton, LA 70523
Phone: (337) 923-4964

Sergeant Rick Riggenbach was 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 the subject shot him with a shotgun, fatally wounding him. The subject then opened fire on the two St. Mary Parish deputies as they arrived at the scene moments later. Both deputies were critically wounded. The subject, 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 was discovered in the debris. The subject 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 previuosly served 10-1/2 years with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and grandchildren.

CHARENTON,LA(NBC33) — Wilbert Thibodeaux is accused of killing on Chitimacha Police Officer Rick Riggenbach and injuring St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Deputies Jason Javier and Matthew Strickland. He also allegedly murdered Eddie Lyons, shot him and set the mobile home he was in on fire.

Those who knew Thibodeaux say he was not a killer, just a man with a mental illness that never got help.

Chitimacha Police arrested Thibodeaux Tuesday on for a disturbing the peace charge, but before that they never had any run-ins with alleged shooter.

But Antony Toussaint says his cousin Eddie Lyons and Chitimacha Police Sergeant Rick Riggenbach would still be alive if Thibodeaux had gotten help for what Toussiant says was a mental illness.

"In this small community black, white, Chitimacha we all consider our self family, because it’s a real small community," Toussiant explained. He’s still in shock after Saturday’s horrific events.

His life on Flat Town Road will never be the same.

"I haven’t been able to really sleep. It’s been hard to really cope with this," Toussiant said. "Eddie Lyons we called him pink. He did for everybody. He was like a second father to me."

Police tape and ash are all that is left of the scene where his cousin died Saturday night.

Toussaint cried,"It’s going to be a long time to heel, because every time I’m pass by I’m looking for pink to be outside in the yard."

Monday State police revealed more details of the investigation into saturday’s shooting including the names of the law enforcement officials who were shot. The community continues to morn.

"That was what was so hurting is why it happened what could have been prevented," Toussaint said. "Wilbert was a down to earth friendly person but he had a mental issue."

Toussaint says in the weeks before the shooting he noticed Thibodeaux began to change.

"He wasn’t this monster that people made him out to be," he explained. "He was somebody that need help."

Law enforcement officials would not confirm whether or not Thibodeaux was mentally ill. But, Toussaint says there were warning signs.

"How did they get to have these guns? I mean that’s a cry for help. We need to get together and do something, so nobody else will have be another victim," he said.

Now all Toussaint can do is pray to find peace.

"My prayer goes out to the police who risked his life to try and save everybody," he said. "To his family my family is praying for him."

Toussaint says without more help for mentally ill people the violence will never stop.

Lyons family set up a pray vigil for Wednesday January 30 at 6:30 pm at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Charenton.

According to State Police: "Sergeant Rick Riggenbach, 52, with the Chitimacha Police Department, was shot and killed by 48-year-old Wilbert Thibodeaux during Saturday’s incident. Sergeant Riggenbach is survived by his wife, Bonnie, three daughters, son, and grandchildren. Sergeant Riggenbach was a 15 year veteran of law enforcement. During his 15 years of service Sergeant Riggenbach worked for the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Chitimacha Police Department. Prior to entering law enforcement, Sergeant Riggenbach served in the United States Navy. "

"St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Deputies Jason Javier and Matthew Strickland, remain in hospitals in Lafayette and New Orleans. Their conditions, which are stable, are improving. Deputy Javier, 23, has been employed with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office for the past two years. Deputy Strickland, 24, had just rejoined the Sheriff’s Office this month after having worked there in 2011. "

A community broken by tragedy came together Monday to honor Sgt. Rick Riggenbach. He was known throughout the community as a friend and someone many could look to for help.
"He was always there for me whether I needed a friend or I needed a cop. He always just had a smile on his face. He was very genuine, had respect for everyone," Bailey LaGrange said.

"He was amazing. I seen him the day before he died," Danielle Trosclair said through tears, "he was just an amazing person."
Police officers from around the area came out to show their support for members of the Chitamacha Police Department. Those who worked with Riggenbach, spoke highly about a man they considered family.

"We are confident in our our heart that he did what he loved. He served the community with integrity and with dedication and with love," Officer Joe Garrison of the Chitamacha Police Department said.

Chitamacha Police Chief Blaise Smith was with Riggenbach during his final moments. He says he’ll never forget him or the service gave to the department. Ultimately, losing his life in the line of duty.

"If he had not done what he had done, I’m horrified to think of what would have happened. I have no idea how many lives he saved, but it didn’t matter to him. To him the only thing that mattered was to protect those people who were by him.

Sgt. Rick Riggenbach loved many things. his wife Bonnie, his children, and his work. "He loved his job", says Bonnie Riggenbach, the officer’s widow.

His family says his nickname was "Robocop" because of the way he carried himself and how serious he took being a police officer.
He also took safety seriously, and encouraged his family to embrace the Second Amendment.
Bonnie Riggenbach says, "He believed and I believed we have the right to bear arms."

Bonnie says while not having her husband come home to her has been unreal, she’s proud her husband was able to save the lives of others, and that both Jason Javier and Matthew Strickland are alive and with their families.
Mary Riggenbach, Sgt. Riggenbach’s daughter, says it’s still hard to believe her dad won’t be coming home. Mary says, "I just wish I could hold him one last time".


2 Responses to “Sergeant Rick Riggenbach Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police End of Watch: Saturday, January 26, 2013”

  1. 1 Joan Parker January 29, 2013 at 10:49

    Rest In Peace Sergeant Riggenbach…

  2. 2 Peggy February 12, 2013 at 16:51

    Rest in Peace Office Riggenbach, Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice protecting us. May God bless your family and friends to get through this tragic time.

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