Family and friends host fundraiser in honor of fallen firefighter

EAST ST. LOUIS – Family and friends are remembering a St. Louis firefighter who was shot and killed on his way home from work.

“Anything to take a tragedy and turn it into a triumph, that’s why we’re here,” says Darnita Riggins.  She is honoring the memory of her late husband Leonard Riggins Sr. by giving back to the community he severed as a firefighter.

“We started a foundation in memory of him to keep his legacy alive. It’s called S.A.I.L., Save An Innocent Life,” she explains.

Riggins was killed a decade ago this Monday while on his way home from work. He stopped to help someone who was in a car accident.  That car was actually stolen and the carjacker shot and killed Riggins.

“I always used to tell him about stopping.  He always said God had his back, and now that’s where he is, with God.”

“Special people have a special calling for a special profession.  That’s what he was doing as an honorable, respectable firefighter.  He was there to help,” says his friend Larry Wise.

The money raised by the S.A.I.L. foundation goes towards scholarships and helping out the local community.

On Monday, Riggins’ family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil and dove release at 4:30 pm at his memorial bench near Chain it Rocks Bridge.