Your NPR news source

2 Bailiffs Shot To Death At A Southwestern Michigan Courthouse

In St. Joseph, Berrien County, a deputy sheriff and bystander were wounded. The gunman was also shot and killed.

SHARE 2 Bailiffs Shot To Death At A Southwestern Michigan Courthouse

Updated at 7:10 p.m. with details of the shootings

Two bailiffs were killed and a deputy sheriff was wounded in a shooting Monday afternoon at a courthouse in southwestern Michigan, according to Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey.

The gunman was shot and killed. The deputy sheriff is in stable condition. One civilian was also wounded.

According to Bailey, the shooting took place on the third floor of the courthouse in St. Joseph, about 40 miles from the border with Indiana.

Authorities have not released the names of anyone involved, and say some witnesses are still being held for questioning at the courthouse. Detectives from local and state police are on the scene.

Bailey tells reporters the shooter was an inmate who was being transferred from a holding cell to a courtroom when he somehow obtained a firearm, killed two bailiffs, and wounded the deputy sheriff before escaping into a hallway and shooting a civilian in the arm. Bailey declined to say where the inmate may have gotten the gun or whether he was handcuffed.

Bailey says, “The inmate was in custody for several charges.”

The gunman was shot and killed after two other bailiffs and multiple police officers responded to provide backup.

The bailiffs who died had been law enforcement officers for “a long time,” Bailey says, and had both worked as bailiffs for a decade.

“Our hearts are torn apart,” Bailey continues. “They were our friends. They were my colleagues. I’ve known them for more than thirty years.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder traveled to St. Joseph on Monday evening, and spoke at a press conference outside the courthouse. “This is a particularly tough time for law enforcement,” he said. “This is a terrible event to have happen, and we need to rally together.”

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

The Latest
A report says US police departments face a three-fold crisis: an erosion of community trust, a violent-crime surge, and dwindling police staffing. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Chip Mitchell
David Brown was appointed superintendent of the Chicago Police Department less than three years ago.
The governor says he is visiting “liberal cities” who he says are too soft on crime.
The Bureau of Prisons is shutting down a unit at its newest penitentiary in Illinois, following an investigation by NPR and The Marshall Project that exposed it was rife with violence and abuse.