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The Thin Blue Line Got Thinner



  • Two bailiffs were shot and killed yesterday by an inmate being taken to an arraignment hearing.
  • The inmate, Larry Darnell Gordon, was shot and killed after trying to hold people hostage in the courtroom.
  • Apparently, Gordon was not in handcuffs as he was being taken to the arraignment, which allowed him to reach for a deputies gun.
  • Two other people were injured but none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Bailiffs Joesph Zangaro, 61, and Ron Kienzle, 63, were shot and killed yesterday after an inmate grabbed the gun of Deputy James Atterbury outside of his holding cell.

Sheriff L. Paul Bailey, of Berrien County in Michigan, said that after Larry Darnell Gordon, the inmate shot the bailiffs he tried to hold hostages in the courtroom. He ended up shooting a woman in the arm and as he tried to flee the scene was shot dead by other bailiffs.

Gordon was being held on several felony charges, although they would not discuss what the charges were. Apparently, Gordon was being moved from his holding cell to be taken to an arraignment in a third-floor courtroom.

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“In that fight, the inmate was able to get the deputy's gun away and then shoot the deputy and then move out from that area and kill the two bailiffs,” Bailey said.

Bailey was asked if it was possible that there had been some mishandling on the transportation of prisoners. It was reported that Gordon was not in handcuffs when he started his attack in the courthouse. Bailey's response was, “We had no information he was going to be violent and not everybody who goes into the courtroom is handcuffed.”

The two bailiffs who lost their lives had both served over a decade as bailiffs. Bailey said, “Our hearts are torn apart. They were our friends. They were our colleagues. I've known them over 30 years.”

The deputy, as well as the injured woman, were taken to the hospital had suffered non-life threatening injuries.

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