DAN TRUTTSCHEL Lee Newspapers
BRISTOL – Life changed in the blink of an eye on October 21 for Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy Minister Terry Tifft and his partner K9 Riggs.
But what initially looked like something so serious – and even putting Riggs’ life in danger after a Chicago homicide suspect shot him in the head during a foot chase – has turned into a miraculous comeback story.
Not only is Riggs back alongside Tifft when the two took to the streets, but the likable and very curious K9 is now the proud owner of a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, who are fourth and second respectively. highest prices. presented by the sheriff’s department.
As Tifft said on the morning of December 16, the whole experience has been “humiliating”.
Riggs and Tifft were among those honored at the department’s 2021 Awards and Promotion Ceremony at Kenosha County Center, 19600 75th St., which included a number of other citations, awards and promotions given out during the morning event.
People also read …
But as is the case with just about any four-legged friend, it was Riggs who stole the show.
“It’s very cool,” Tifft said afterwards. “I am humbled by the whole experience as always. The community and everyone just stood behind us. It’s really cool.”
Riggs was shot and killed by Chicago homicide suspect Allan Brown as Tifft and other MPs tried to stop him in a standoff outside the Benson Corners convenience store and gas station, 2000 75th St., Bristol.
When Brown attempted to escape on foot, Tifft freed his partner, who threw the accused to the ground but was subsequently shot in the head. The bullet entered Riggs’ forehead and passed through the muscle along his skull, before exiting through the back.
“He performed what he was trained (to do) perfectly,” Tifft said. “There is nothing more to say than that. Everything happened at the right time. I haven’t seen or re-read any of the reports or anything like that, but from what I heard, everything went perfectly. It did its job, just like I guess any other K9 would. It was just him.
Riggs was taken to Harris Pet Hospital in Paddock Lake first and then to the Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, Ill. For further treatment. He was released from their care three days after the shooting.
At that point, everything indicated that Riggs’ days as a K9 cop were behind him, but he went through a battery of medical tests and, on November 29, returned to work with Tifft.
“We weren’t expecting him to come back), and the fact that he was on duty, I couldn’t be happier,” Tifft said. “We haven’t really gotten into too many things. He’s only been back for two weeks, but we’re ready in case we need to.
Sheriff David Beth said he was among those who were amazed at how quickly Riggs recovered from such a serious injury.
“When I first heard he was shot in the head, I thought the worst, like everyone else,” Beth said. “When I saw the spot where they had cut the hair, the gunshot wound, the exit wound, I couldn’t believe it was working, let alone three weeks later it’s back to work and looks like he always has.
“He shot the suspect and possibly saved a shootout with our deputy sheriffs and the suspect, who had already killed two people in Chicago the day before.”
Tifft said life has been so busy that the enormity and small miracle of his partner’s return – the two have been working together since 2014 – haven’t really touched him yet.
“I haven’t,” he said. “Everything has been so busy that I haven’t had the chance. Hopefully I’ll keep him working for another year or so and then he’ll retire the right way.
Beth didn’t expect to see Riggs active after that day.
“We were hesitant at first, (thinking) he’s never coming back, he’s going to be scared of gunfire, and we’ve heard he’s as good as he ever was, which is amazing for me, ”Beth said. “I think if I was shot in the head I would go into medical retirement, but Riggs is the exact opposite. He works here.
And when that moment comes, Riggs will be the full-time pet, said Tifft, who added that his home partner’s personality is definitely different from when it’s time to go to work.
“He’s a regular dog, and then when it’s time for work, it’s time for work,” Tifft said. “When he’s home he’s so laid back. As soon as you approach the car, that changes. My wife and kids saw it. No one can approach the car. He is very protective.
“But otherwise, when we do that stuff, he’s just a really normal dog.”
But now he’s just a “normal” dog with a well-deserved Purple Heart and Silver Star.
IN PHOTOS: K-9 hero Riggs released from vet hospital