Two Bailiffs Shot Dead By Inmate Trying To Escape Courthouse: 'Our Hearts Are Torn Apart,' Says Sheriff
A jail inmate trying to escape a Michigan courthouse grabbed a gun from an officer Monday, killing two bailiffs and injuring two others before being shot dead, authorities said.
Late Monday, officials identified the shooter as Larry Darnell Gordon, 44, who faced charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and obstructing police, Michigan State Police records show, WZZM-TV reported.
Sheriff Paul Bailey identified the two slain bailiffs as Joseph Zangaro, 61, and Ron Kienzle, 63.
"All indication (sic) is that he was trying to break out of jail," Bailey said.
Gordon tried to take hostages as he attempted to flee, the sheriff said.
A Sheriff's deputy and a civilian suffered non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Zangaro was head of courthouse security at the Berrien County Courthouse in the southwest corner of the state. He was retired from the Michigan State Police and had worked for the county trial court system since 2004.
Kienzle was a former police sergeant and had worked for the courts since 2005.
"I lost some friends today," said a shaken Bailey at an earlier press conference Monday. "So I'm here with a heavy heart.
"They were our friends. They were my colleagues. I've known them for over 30 years. So it's a sad day," Bailey said.
Gordon, who had not previously exhibited violent behavior, was apparently not handcuffed as he was being transferred from a holding cell, authorities said.
The incident began about 2:30 p.m. on the courthouse's third floor. A fight broke out and Gordon was able to wrest a deputy's gun from its holder, Bailey said.
Gordon then fatally shot two bailiffs and took several hostages "for a short period of time" until he tried to escaped through a door, Bailey said. That's when other bailiffs opened fire and killed Gordon, the sheriff said.
The facility was briefly placed on lockdown until all law enforcement personnel could be accounted for.