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."