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Shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

Shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

Postby Happy Mom » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:12 am

Deceased bailiffs, gunman named in shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

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Deceased bailiffs, gunman named in shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

2 bailiffs, gunman dead in courthouse shooting in St. Joseph, Michigan

6PM press conference - Berrien County Courthouse shooting
By WNDU | Posted: Mon 2:50 PM, Jul 11, 2016 | Updated: Tue 12:02 AM, Jul 12, 2016

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WNDU) - Two bailiffs were shot and killed and a deputy sheriff was injured at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan, after an inmate got hold of an officer’s firearm.

Ronald Kienzle and Joe Zangaro

It happened around 2:25 p.m. Monday afternoon.

According to Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey, 45-year-old Larry Darnell Gordon was in the process of being moved from a holding cell. A fight erupted outside of the cell and the inmate got hold of the gun, shot the deputy and then shot and killed two other bailiffs.

A civilian was also shot before officers killed Gordon.

On Monday night, the two bailiffs were identified as Ronald Kienzle and Joe Zangaro.

Kienzle was a 63-year-old retired sergeant with the Benton Charter Township Police Department. He also served in the U.S. Army.

Zangaro was the 61-year-old head of courthouse security. He retired from the Michigan State Police as post commander of the Bridgman Post.

“Our hearts are torn apart. They were my friends. They were my colleagues. I’ve known them for over 30 years,” said Sheriff Bailey.

James Atterberry Jr., 41, is the deputy sheriff who was injured. He's currently in intensive care.

The unnamed civilian is being treated for an arm injury at a local hospital.

Gordon, from Coloma, was in custody on several felony charges. According to our sister station WOOD-TV: Gordon was in jail on two counts of criminal sexual conduct, Michigan State Police records show. He was also facing charges of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic violence.

WOOD-TV spoke with Jessica Gordon, Larry Gordon's ex-wife.

"I don't want the press to paint a picture of him as angry, violent person," Jessica said. "Nobody knows the truth because they weren't there. They don't know why he was in jail, because they weren't there."

According to Sheriff Bailey, it doesn't appear that Gordon was cuffed at the time of the shooting. The sheriff explained that not all inmates would be cuffed in this situation, and he says they had no indication that Gordon would be violent.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder visited St. Joseph a few hours after the shooting occurred.

"This is a terrible event to have happened, and we need to rally together to support one another. You can see that from the community members with me and the law enforcement members with me, but we should all be standing together to say, 'How do we support one another? How do we work to make sure these things don't happen?'" Gov. Snyder said.

"I think the biggest thing is unity," Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad said. "As we look at this tragedy, I think collectively and together, if we pull together -- of course, prayers -- just think about our fellow neighbor in times like this. I think that, together, we can pull through it and hopefully come out stronger."

At the time of the shooting, the courthouse had been operating like it would on any other day.

"I went over there, and they told me go back to my car, and I'm like, "I'm not going back to my car. My daughter and my wife's in there," explained Benton Harbor resident Mike Ramsey. "People were being evacuated from the fourth floor, and I'm like, Why are you being evacuated from the fourth floor?" They said, "You need to get out of here. There's a person with a gun." I'm like, "Well, I'm not leaving. My wife and daughter's on the fourth floor." And I was kind of puzzled why they were coming out but [my family wasn't]."

Some people who were inside the courthouse at the time of the shooting took cover as officers cleared the building.

"They went for shelter once the shooting occurred, and other brave officers were able to come to their rescue and take the shooter down," Sheriff Bailey explained.

"What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart," U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) said in a statement. "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. 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."

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the shooting today in my hometown of St. Joseph," Sen. John Proos (R-St. Joseph) said. "My thoughts and prayers as well as those of my family are with the victims and all those affected by this tragedy. At the time of the incident, I was at my constituent service office just a block away from the courthouse. I can therefore attest to the professionalism and outright heroism of law enforcement agencies as well as first responders from all over Southwest Michigan. These men and women get up every day and put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve and protect our community. Today, they were met with violence, and apparently, several have lost their lives."

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two sheriff’s bailiffs who were slain in this senseless act of violence. We hope for a speedy recovery for the deputy and others who also were injured during this tragedy," State Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) said. “The men and women who work in our court system and in law enforcement put their lives on the line every time they go into work. We are in a very difficult time across America right now, and this is hitting very close to home. I have faith our local law enforcement officials will sort out the details involved in the shooting in the hours and days to come.”
James Atterberry Jr., 41, is the deputy sheriff

Larry Darnell Gordon, 45

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Re: Shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

Postby bdcbbq » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:20 pm

I knew both bailiffs who were murdered. I also know several who work there from LE and employees.


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Re: Shooting at St. Joseph (MI) courthouse

Postby Happy Mom » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:52 am

Despite criminal history, Berrien Co. Courthouse shooter volunteered at school


A jail inmate who killed two courthouse bailiffs during an escape attempt in Berrien County was a regular volunteer at his daughter's school, despite a long criminal record.

Watervliet (Water-VUH'-leet) Superintendent Kevin Schooley tells WZZM-TV ( ) that background checks on Larry Gordon apparently didn't turn up any violent crimes.

Gordon was a classroom volunteer before his arrest in April on charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and other crimes. He also had served time in federal and state prisons.

South Elementary principal Carole Fetke says volunteers don't get fingerprinted.

The Berrien County sheriff says Gordon wrested a gun from a deputy on July 11 and killed two bailiffs before he was killed.

His criminal background was revealed in a news release issued by the county prosecutor earlier this month:

Larry Gordon, 44, of Coloma, Michigan, was being sought for an outstanding warrant for domestic violence, a 93 day misdemeanor. That warrant's incident date was January 28, 2016. After several attempts to execute the warrant, on April 20, 2016 Officers from Coloma Township Police Department were looking for Gordon at his residence on Tannery Road in Coloma Township where he lived with his ex-wife. Upon arrival, officers observed a light on in a shed on the property and discovered Gordon to be inside. Gordon barricaded himself inside but escaped through a back access door. Gordon fled and was discovered several streets away with the help of a tracking dog and physically resisted exiting from under a porch. Police then discovered the presence of a 17 year old female in the shed. The investigation revealed the following.

The 17 year old had been held against her will by Gordon for approximately two weeks. He gave her methamphetamine in exchange for sex, forced some penetrations, and assaulted her with weapons, and assault by strangulation. He also video recorded the sexual activity.

As a result, Gordon was charged with:

five counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, a life maximum;

one count of kidnapping, a life maximum;

three counts of production of child sexually abusive material, a 20 year maximum;

possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, a 20 year maximum;

one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd degree, a 15 year maximum;

one count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15 year maximum;

two counts of assault by strangulation, a 10 year maximum;

one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, a 4 year maximum;

two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer, 2 year maximums; and

misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and malicious destruction of building.

He was supplemented as a 4th habitual offender.

Gordon had previously been convicted of:

1992 a federal conviction for possession of pipe bomb;

1998 in Barry County, fleeing and eluding 3rd degree;

1998 a federal conviction for possession of pipe bomb;

2002 a federal conviction for felon in possession of a firearm;

2013 in Berrien County, larceny in a building.

Through this investigation, an incident was investigated involving similar conduct with a 16 year old victim in 2006 in Berrien County, which had not yet been charged.

Due to his more serious charges, the original domestic violence charge, a misdemeanor, was being dismissed in court the day of the shootings resulting in the wounding of 1 deputy and the death of two bailiffs. Gordon was shot and killed by other bailiffs while holding a hostage.

If convicted at trial, sentencing guidelines for Gordon's offenses may have been as high as between 18 and 62 years on a minimum sentence.

We have also learned investigators on the case are expected to discuss the shooting today.

The sheriff's officers say they are still conducting interviews and gathering information and evidence.

Make sure to stay with WSBT 22 as we learn more about the shooting that rocked our community. ... -at-school
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