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FRANKLIN, La. (AP) — The Chitimacha tribal police officer killed in the shootings that left two sheriff's deputies wounded acted heroically, saving others from harm near a south Louisiana casino, authorities said Monday.
State police praised the slain officer, who was identified Monday as 52-year-old Sgt. Rick Riggenbach. However, officials offered no further details on what exactly happened during the shooting Saturday, or on Riggenbach's actions.
Previous coverage on LawOfficer.com:
Riggenbach was a four-year veteran of the tribal police department who previously served 10 years as a St. Mary Parish sheriff's deputy.
"His heroic actions did prevent other people from being injured," Louisiana State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons said at a press briefing Monday. "He certainly is a hero."
St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert said his two wounded deputies, 23-year-old Jason Javier and 24-year-old Matthew Strickland, remain hospitalized but "seem to be recovering well."
Wilbert Thibodeaux, 48, of Charenton, was arrested on murder and arson charges. He is accused of gunning down an elderly resident, Eddie Lyons, and setting fire to a mobile home before shooting the officers.
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.
The shooting occurred near the tribe's 260-acre reservation and less than a quarter mile from the casino it operates.