An inmate shot and killed two court bailiffs in Berrien County, Mi., yesterday after wresting a gun from a sheriff’s deputy in a hallway scuffle after a hearing over a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, reports the Detroit News. Judge Charles LaSata said it was “just an ordinary day” when a defendant left his courtroom escorted by a sheriff’s deputy and was headed back to the county jail.
Within moments, LaSata said he could hear a scuffle and shouting in an adjoining hallway as he watched his bailiff run out of the courtroom. “My bailiff, as he was running to the danger to protect me and everybody in my courtroom, he did not yet have his gun drawn and it couldn’t have been more than five to 10 seconds [later] that I heard the two shots,” LaSata said. The second bailiff ran to the shots and was also killed.
Courthouse bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle were shot by inmate Larry Darnell Gordon, 45. “It doesn’t appear he was cuffed at the time of the incident,” said Sheriff Paul Bailey. Two other courthouse bailiffs shot Gordon to death after he shot a woman in a public hallway and briefly attempted to take hostages. “They were just loving guys and their lives were tragically ended today,” Bailey said. Gordon worked in automotive detailing and home improvement and had been in the county jail since April 20. His ex-wife, Jessica, said the only motive her ex-husband would have to break out of jail is “he was terrified of going away” to prison. The Detroit Free Press reports that Gordon faced a maximum life term in another sex assault and kidnapping case.