Chief Blaise Smith of the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department has reported that Sergeant Rick Riggenbach of his department was shot and killed Saturday morning shortly after 9:00 am.

Sergeant Riggenbach and two deputies from the St. Mary’s Parish Sheriff Department responded to a mobile home fire at a trailer park a short distance from the Cypress Bayou Casino.  The casino is owned by the Chitimacha Indian Tribe.  A male was also reported walking down Flattown Road away from the scene of the fire carrying a firearm.

Sergeant Riggenbach stopped to confront the male subject with the weapon.  When he exited his patrol vehicle, the subject opened fire with a shotgun, instantly killing him.  The two sheriff deputies arrived moments later and they, too, were fired upon.  Both officers were critically wounded, but returned fire.  During the firefight the suspect was also wounded.

The suspect, identified as Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton, was taken into custody by other responding officers. Treated and released from a local hospital, he remains in custody and charges are pending.  Media reports indicate that he has a history of law enforcement contacts and suffers from a mental illness.

After the fire was contained, the charred remains of a deceased male believed to be Eddie Lyons, 78, the owner of the mobile home, were found.  Investigators believe that Thibodeaux shot and killed Lyons during an altercation. He then set fire to the trailer home in an attempt to hide the shooting death.  The Louisiana State Police are assisting in the investigation of the shooting and the mobile home fire.

Riggenbach served the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department for 15 years and is survived by his wife and two grown children.  Sgt. Rick Riggenbach, gone but never forgotten.  EOW: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Image created by Fellow Officer Rose Borisow

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