ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (CBSNewYork/CBS Chicago/AP) — A prisoner was being moved at southwest Michigan courthouse when he disarmed an officer and shot and killed two bailiffs Monday before officers killed the gunman, a sheriff said.
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said two court bailiffs and the suspect are dead in the shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.
“Our hearts are torn apart. … I have known them for over 30 years. It’s a sad day,” Sheriff Paul Bailey said of the bailiffs.
Bailey said the disturbance occurred on the third floor of the courthouse.
The inmate — 45-year-old Larry D. Gordon — was being taken out of a holding cell to be taken into a courtroom when he began struggling with a deputy and took the officer’s weapon, the sheriff said. Gordon shot the deputy, wounding him, and then fatally shot the two bailiffs.
The inmate was then “taken down” by two other deputies, Bailey said. It wasn’t clear how the detainee died.
The two court officers who were killed were identified as Joe Zangaro, 61, head of courthouse security, and 63-year-old Ron Kienzle, an Army veteran. Both had been police officers before retiring.
The injured deputy, 41, was in intensive care but was recovering after surgery. A civilian woman was injured in the arm, Sheriff Bailey said.
Gordon had been detained at the jail on “numerous felony charges,” Bailey said. He was not handcuffed at the time of the incident.
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“We ask people to pray for the families of the deceased, and we will have further information for you once I get more information from the investigators about what occurred today,” Bailey said.
Several other people, including a deputy sheriff, were injured in the shooting and all are in stable condition.
“We can confirm that a deputy and several civilians were brought to Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph shortly after the shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse,” Jessica Hines, public relations specialist for Lakeland Health, said in a statement.
A woman who works inside the courthouse called her husband after the shots rang out and told him she was hiding in the bathroom and asked him to call 911, WBBM-TV CBS2 Chicago’s Mai Martinez reported.
The man was told police were already at the scene when he made the call, WBBM-CBS2’s Derrick Blakley reported.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan State Police have secured the scene and started its investigation into the shooting.
Snyder called it a “terrible day in a wonderful community.”
Berrien County, which borders Indiana, is in the far southwestern corner of Michigan about two hours from Chicago.
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