Two Bailiffs, Shooter Dead at Michigan Courthouse

     ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (CN) — Hours after an inmate killed two bailiffs at the Berrien County Courthouse, Sheriff Paul Bailey expressed shock and grief Monday evening at a press conference.
     The shooting took place around 2:25 p.m. Monday afternoon, as deputy sheriff James Atterberry Jr. and a bailiff escorted inmate, Larry Darnell Gordon, from a holding cell to a courtroom.
     In a hallway on the way to the courtroom, Gordon – who was not handcuffed at the time – attacked Atterberry and wrested control of Atterberry’s gun.
     He then shot Atterberry in the arm and shot and killed court bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle.
     Sheriff Bailey said Gordon then went into the back area of a courtroom and took several hostages from among court personnel and civilians who were in the immediate vicinity. The hostage situation lasted approximately five minutes before two other court bailiffs shot and killed Gordon.
     Gordon also shot and wounded the deputy officer and a civilian, who happened to be in the hallway where the deadly scuffle took place.
     When questioned by reporters about the lack of handcuffs on Gordon during his movement from the holding cell to the courtroom, Sheriff Bailey explained that the decision to use handcuffs is made on a case-by-case basis. Although being held on several felony charges, Gordon “gave no indication of violence while in jail,” Bailey said.
     Deceased bailiffs Zangaro, 61, and Kienzle, 63, were 30-year law enforcement veterans. Zangaro was head of courthouse security.
     Gordon was a 45-year-old white man from nearby Coloma, Michigan. Police have not released details about the felony charges that were pending against him at the time of the shooting.
     Bailey described Zangaro and Kienzle as “loving guys” who were well-respected.
     Speaking for all county officers, Bradley said, “Our hearts are torn apart.”
     Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder traveled to St. Joseph in the aftermath of the shootings and urged all Michiganders to “be supportive of law enforcement [officers] and their families.”
     St. Joseph is located in far southwestern Michigan’s Berrien County, which borders Indiana.

%d bloggers like this: