Inmate Disarms Officer, Fatally Shoots Two Bailiffs at Michigan Courthous

iStock/Thinkstock(ST. JOSEPH, Mich.) — An inmate took an officer's gun and shot four people, including two fatally, while he was being moved from a holding cell inside the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan, Tuesday, officials said.

The inmate first shot a county sheriff's deputy, then fatally shot two bailiffs, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said. The inmate then shot a civilian in the arm before he was taken down by a bailiff along with several other officers, Bailey said.

The suspect was shot dead by officers, Bailey said.

Bailey identified the two bailiffs who were killed as Joe Zangaro, 61, head of courthouse security, and Ron Kienzle, 63, who has been with the court since 2005. Zangaro has been with court police since 2004 and was retired from the Michigan State Police; Kienzle was a former U.S. Army veteran and was a retired sergeant with Benton Township Police, Bailey said.

Bailey said the civilian and the sheriff's deputy suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Inmate was identified as Larry Darnell Gordon, 45, of Coloma, Minnesota. He was in jail on numerous felony charges, Bailey said, noting that he he didn’t appear to have been cuffed at the time. Online records from the Michigan Department of Corrections show that Gordon was being held on felony charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and obstructing police. He was arrested in April of this year.

When the shooting broke out, the people inside the courthouse "went for shelter," Bailey said, "and other brave officers were able to come to the rescue and take the shooter down."

The courthouse was later secured and the scene was rendered safe, Bailey said, noting that it appeared to be an attempted jail break during the inmate’s arraignment.

The inmate had taken several hostages -- both court employees and citizens -- for less than five minutes before he made his way to another corridor and was shot by the bailiffs.

Bailey said the courthouse will be closed Tuesday.

Gov. Rick Snyder said state police were investigating.

Snyder also called for more support for law enforcement in the state and across the country.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, a St. Joseph native, said in a statement, "What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart. My thoughts are with our entire community -- our friends and neighbors.

"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," he said. "We have lost two very able public servants, and we all grieve for them and their families. As we learn more about this horrific situation, one thing is clear: We must do better to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring."

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