Published July 05, 2017
An inmate snatched a deputy's gun inside a southwestern Michigan courthouse and killed two bailiffs while he was handcuffed, investigators said Tuesday giving new details into the shooting.
Officers killed the inmate, 45-year-old Larry Gordon, soon afterwards, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told reporters. He said Gordon got into a fight with the deputy while being escorted from a cell for a courtroom appearance at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.
The deputy who was escorting Gordon is recovering in a hospital with injuries that aren't life-threatening. A woman was also injured. Her name and condition weren't immediately provided.
Two court bailiffs were killed and a deputy sheriff shot Monday inside a southwestern Michigan courthouse when an inmate broke loose and got his hands on an officer's gun, officials said.
During the incident, Bailey said Gordon took hostages for a short period of time before trying to leave through another door.
The sheriff said he faced multiple felony charges but did not specify what they were.
Bailey said authorities had "no warning signs" that the suspect would be violent. Contrary to reports Monday, he said Gordon was in handcuffs.
The inmate shot a sheriff's deputy, killed the bailiffs and then shot a civilian in the arm in a public area, the sheriff said.
During the incident, Bailey said Gordon took hostages for a short period before trying to leave through another door. The inmate then was fatally shot "by two other bailiffs who came to render aid, along with several other officers," Bailey said.
"He was trying to escape," the sheriff said.
Bailey identified the bailiffs killed as Joseph Zangaro, 61, and Ronald Kienzle, 63. He said the longtime law enforcement officers were close friends of his who became court officers after retiring from their departments.
Zangaro was head of court security. He retired from the Michigan State Police as commander of the Bridgman Post in Berrien County. Kienzle retired as a sergeant of the Benton Township police department after serving in the U.S. Army.
Both had been employed by the court for more than a decade.
The injuries suffered by the deputy and the civilian weren't considered life-threatening. Bailey said the deputy, 41-year-old James Atterberry Jr., had surgery on his arm and is "doing fine." He said the civilian was a woman who also suffered an arm injury. He did not identify her.
"We need prayers and the families need your prayers especially," he told reporters.
The incident occurred just days after five Dallas police officers were killed by a sniper, and amid a wave of violence and threats against law enforcement officers around the country.
An official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told Fox News that agents from the agency's Detroit Division are en route to the shooting scene at the courthouse.
Another law enforcement official told Fox News the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Detroit field office is monitoring the situation in Berrien County, and that FBI has offered its assistance to local officials but is not involved at this time.
The courthouse is located about 50 miles west of Kalamazoo, where an Uber driver killed six people in a shooting spree earlier this year.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced on Twitter that the Michigan State Police has secured the scene, and is beginning its investigation into the shooting.
Synder called the shooting "a terrible event" in an afternoon press conference, and called for the public to "rally together" to support one another.
"This is a particularly tough time for law enforcement," he said.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich, who is from St. Joseph, described Monday's shooting as a "horrific situation."
“What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart. My thoughts are with our entire community – our friends and neighbors," he said in a statement. "This tragic event reminds us all too well that our law enforcement officers have their lives on the line every day not knowing what that day will bring. We have lost two very able public servants and we all grieve for them and their families."
Bailey said the courthouse would be closed on Tuesday.
Fox News' Matthew Dean, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.