DETROIT -- The letter carrier arrived yesterday morning just hours after Spc. Anthony Riggs was shot. She strode past his blood, still in a puddle in the Detroit street, and handed over the envelope stuffed with his clean, curvy writing.
It was from Saudi Arabia, where Specialist Riggs wrote about survival Feb. 22.
"There's no way I'm going to die in this rotten country," wrote Specialist Riggs, an Army member of a Patriot crew in Riyadh. "With the Lord's grace and his guidance, I'll walk American soil once again."
Specialist Riggs, 22, made it back safely. But 24 hours after he arrived in Detroit, he was killed.
Around 2:15 a.m. yesterday, Specialist Riggs was packing his car to move to a new home. Someone walked up, shot him in the head and stole the car.
"It really makes you wonder where the battlefield is," said Diane DeShields, a neighbor.
Family members and police said yesterday that Specialist Riggs, VTC of Las Vegas, was sent to the Persian Gulf area in August.
After departing the gulf, he was given two weeks of leave and arrived in Fort Bliss, Texas, March 8.
He spent a week there with his wife, Toni, and her 3-year-old daughter, both of whom had been staying with her relatives in Detroit.
On Sunday morning, the three returned to Detroit, and the adults spent the day packing belongings from the Detroit home for their new apartment in Warren, Mich. The couple wanted a permanent home in the area.
The couple worked into the early morning because they did not want to leave loaded vehicles on the street overnight.
As 2:15 approached, Toni Riggs went inside for a moment as her husband stuffed a rented truck and the car that would soon be stolen.
"I heard about five or six shots," said neighbor Walter Phillips. "I ran to the front window. I saw the guys taking off, burning rubber."