89.1 WEMU

2 Bailiffs Shot To Death At A Southwestern Michigan Courthouse

Jul 11, 2016
Originally published on July 11, 2016 10:03 pm

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET with names of the victims and gunman

Two bailiffs were killed and a deputy sheriff was wounded in a shooting Monday afternoon at a courthouse in southwestern Michigan, according to Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey.

The gunman was shot and killed. The deputy sheriff was in stable condition, as was one civilian who was also wounded.

Bailey said the shooting took place on the third floor of the courthouse in St. Joseph, about 40 miles from the border with Indiana.

The Associated Press reports the sheriff identified the deceased bailiffs as Joseph Zangaro, 61, a former Michigan State Police commander, and Ronald Kienzle, 63, a former Benton Township police sergeant, and the shooter as Larry Darnell Gordon, 45, who was facing multiple felony charges.

Bailey told reporters the shooter was an inmate who was being transferred from a holding cell to a courtroom when he disarmed one of the officers escorting him, killed two bailiffs, and wounded the deputy sheriff before escaping into a hallway and shooting a civilian in the arm. Bailey did not give details on how the inmate got the gun or whether he was handcuffed.

The gunman was shot and killed after two other bailiffs and multiple police officers responded to provide backup.

The bailiffs who died had been law enforcement officers for "a long time," Bailey said, and had both worked as bailiffs for a decade.

"Our hearts are torn apart," Bailey continued. "They were our friends. They were my colleagues. I've known them for more than 30 years."

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder traveled to St. Joseph on Monday evening and spoke at a news conference outside the courthouse. "This is a particularly tough time for law enforcement," he said. "This is a terrible event to have happen, and we need to rally together."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.