KENOSHA — Hundreds turned out to a small Kenosha park on Saturday to welcome home a local hero — Riggs, the Kenosha Sheriff's Department K9 recently shot in the line of duty.
Neighbors around C.J. Clausen Park, as well as many strangers, inspired and moved by Rigg's story, came to thank the dog for his service.
For his handler, Sheriff's Deputy Terry Tifft, it was an emotional day.
"He's family. He's always been [family]. And you can see he's a sweet dog. And he did his job and he saved my life," said Tifft.
On that day — the day Riggs saved the lives of several deputies, says Tifft — officers had responded to a gas station on Thursday in Bristol, just west of Kenosha.
According to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, deputies were there to look for a stolen car and its driver, a man suspected of murder in Chicago that same day.
Deputies found him, and the man attempted to flee, according to the sheriff's department.
But Riggs chased him down and tackled him.
The suspect shot Riggs in the head. And deputies responded by shooting the suspect, who according to police is in stable condition at a hospital.
Tifft says the rest is a blur.
"I don't remember. I just flew to the vet," he said.
Riggs is a lucky dog. The bullet entered the top of his head and exited out the back, bruising the skull but not fracturing it or hitting any vital parts.
"It is a miracle, it's a great miracle," said Tifft.
In Wisconsin, injuring a police dog is a felony, punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Killing a police dog is punishable by up to 6 years and the same fine.
After Rigg's celebration — which included a helicopter flyover —- wrapped up, the local hero went home for a well-earned rest.
Tifft says Rigg's health will be evaluated over the next few months. And although he's an old dog, at eight years, he may return to the sheriff's department and put off retirement for now.
His handler, and best pal, says he'd very much like to work with Riggs again.