Slain officer is 4th to die in line of duty in St. Mary Parish since 1950s

Sgt. Frederick “Rick” Albert Riggenbach, 52, was the fourth officer in St. Mary Parish to be killed in the line of duty since the mid-1950s.

Riggenbach, a Chitimacha tribal police officer, and 78-year-old Eddie Lyons were killed in a shooting spree Saturday morning that also left two St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputies wounded near Cypress Bayou Casino.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org), the next most recent death of a police officer in the line of duty was Berwick Assistant Chief Bobby Froreich in 1998. Froreich died in a vehicle accident while responding to a call.

Prior to his death, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office lost Agent John Kahl in 1980. He was shot while executing a search warrant, the website states.

Also lost in the line of duty locally was Ruble Robicheaux in 1957. The Morgan City Police Department officer was working as a dispatcher on the night of his death when a 16-year-old boy walked into headquarters and shot Ruble in the back, the site states.

The wounded deputies, Jason Javier, 23, and Matthew Strickland, 24, remain in the hospitals in stable condition, according to Traci Landry, St. Mary Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

“They are being closely monitored by medical staff. Healing will take time,” she said.

Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton has been charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of arson, according to State Police. Landry said he is now being held in Angola. Previously, Thibodeaux was housed in the Iberia Parish Jail.

An impromptu vigil was held Tuesday night at the Charenton Police Department in honor of Riggenbach.

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and the Charenton Community Outreach will host a candlelight vigil to pray and commemorate the lives of the victims. The vigil will be held at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 1262 Bobtown Rd. in Charenton, Wednesday, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Riggenbach was a native of New Martinsville, W.Va., and a resident of Bayou Vista.

He was a 15-year veteran of law enforcement in St. Mary Parish, having worked 10 years and eight months with the St. Mary Sheriff’s Office and four years, five months with the Chitimacha Police Department. Riggenbach also was a U.S. Navy veteran.

Riggenbach is survived by his wife, Bonnie Hammonds Riggenbach of Bayou Vista; parents, Robert and Sharon Riggenbach of West Virginia; three daughters, one son, two grandchildren and four siblings.

Visitation will take place Wednesday at Twin City Funeral Home in Morgan City, from 3 to 10 p.m. and will resume Thursday at The Crossing Place in Franklin between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. He will be laid to rest with full honors in the Morgan City Cemetery.

Services for Lyons are not set.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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