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Wife’s Brother Reported Held in GI’s Slaying : Crime: Police refuse to give details. Victim’s wife is questioned and released. Gulf veteran’s death had prompted demands for curbs on street violence.

From Associated Press

The slaying of a Persian Gulf War veteran that added to demands for a domestic war against street crime took an unexpected turn Monday when police arrested a brother-in-law, news reports said.

Police said an arrest was made in the shooting of Army Spec. Anthony Riggs but refused to confirm it was the relative.

Riggs’ wife, Toni, was questioned by police Monday and released, said her attorney, Althina Siringas.

Two Detroit television stations, WJBK and WDIV, reported without attribution that a brother of Toni Riggs was in custody after allegedly confessing to being involved in the March 18 slaying.

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The stations did not name the man, who the Detroit Free Press said was 19.

A person who answered the telephone in the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said Monday there was no one available to comment on who was arrested and on what charges.

Acting on a motion from Siringas, Detroit Recorder’s Court Judge Dalton A. Roberson ordered police to either bring Toni Riggs to his courtroom or release her.

“They just wanted to question her. She came in and she answered their questions,” Siringas said.

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Siringas said she didn’t know who was in custody and said the family hired her Monday after being notified police wanted to talk with Mrs. Riggs.

Newsweek magazine reported this week that when Toni Riggs met her husband on his return from the gulf, she asked him for a divorce. The magazine said marital problems arose between the couple while Riggs was in the Middle East.

Riggs was shot five times in front of the home of his wife’s aunt. He had returned the day before from Saudi Arabia, where he was part of a Patriot missile battery group.

Riggs’ car was stolen, and some authorities said a street robbery was suspected initially.

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The slaying brought calls from congressional and other leaders for a war against street crime, with some saying big-city streets were more dangerous than the gulf war zone.

On Saturday, about 700 family and friends gathered at Little Rock Baptist Church, where the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for an end to what he called a war against black males. Aretha Franklin also attended the service and sang.

The United American Healthcare Foundation announced a college education grant for Riggs’ 3-year-old daughter, Amber Butler. Family members were to be at a news conference Monday announcing the trust fund, but foundation president and chairman Francis A. Kornegay said there was no one at the home where Toni Riggs was staying when he arrived to pick them up.


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