Charenton community speaks out after shooting kills two injures 2 more

Monday, January 28, 2013 - 8:45pm

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. "

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