St. Mary

Jan 30, 2013 12:52 PM by AP

Funeral set for slain Chitimacha police officer

FRANKLIN, La. (AP) - A funeral service was set for Thursday for the Chitimacha tribal police officer killed in shootings that also wounded two sheriff's deputies and left another man dead.

The service for Sgt. Rick Riggenbach was scheduled for 2 p.m. at Crossing Place Church in Franklin, followed by burial at a Morgan City cemetery.

Forty-eight-year-old Wilbert Thibodeaux, of Charenton, was arrested on murder and arson charges Saturday after he allegedly gunned down an elderly resident, Eddie Lyons, and set fire to a mobile home before shooting the three officers.

One of the wounded St. Mary Parish sheriff's deputies, 23-year-old Jason Javier, was released from the hospital Tuesday. The other, 24-year-old Matthew Strickland, remained hospitalized Wednesday but was in stable condition, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

"He continues to improve but he is being closely monitored by medical personnel," said the spokeswoman, Traci Landry.

Landry said Javier visited his colleagues at the sheriff's office Wednesday.

"He's in good spirits," she added.

Riggenbach was a four-year member of the tribal police department who previously served 10 years as a St. Mary Parish sheriff's deputy.

A spokesman for the Louisiana State Police said earlier this week that Riggenbach acted heroically, saving others from harm. However, authorities have released few details about the deadly encounter, saying they don't want to jeopardize the investigation.

Police said the officers were responding to a report of an armed man walking down a road near the Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton when Thibodeaux shot them. Thibodeaux also was wounded during the confrontation.

Investigators found the burned body of Lyons, 78, of Charenton, after extinguishing the blaze at the mobile home.

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