Michigan – Larry Gordon, aged 44, managed to overpower an officer at the Berrien County Courthouse last Monday seizing the deputy’s gun. After disarming him, Gordon shot him in the arm before turning his gun to two bailiffs killing them in the place. In an attempt to escape jail, the man ran to the third floor where he injured an unknown woman. However, other officers arrived the scene and opened fire on the fugitive ending his life. Sheriff Paul Bailey gave more details on the incident
According to him, Gordon was in the courthouse for a hearing. He had been charged with several felonies including two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. In this kind of facilities, there are always cells were the inmates wait for their turn on the stand. Bailey said everything was going as expected, but the situation turned south in the blink of an eye. Gordon’s hearing was up, so two bailiffs, identified as Joseph Zangaro, 61 and Ronald Kienzle, 63, accompanied Deputy James Atterberry Jr. during the transfer process.
Officer James secured the door behind the criminal, and it was then when the inmate attacked the deputy. In a matter of seconds, Gordon disarmed the officer, injured him, and shot the two bailiffs dead. Then, he ran into the hallway where he killed a female civilian before backup officers put him down.
“Our hearts are torn apart. They were our friends, they were my colleagues. I’ve known them for over 30 years. So it’s a sad day,” said the Sheriff during an interview later that day.
Officials still don’t know whether the escape attempt was planned or improvised
The first gunshot was reported at 2:15 P.M and the authorities said the shooting took place on the third floor of the courthouse. The Sheriff said James Atterberry Jr, aged 41, was taken to a local hospital where doctors extracted the bullet. He is in a stable condition, and according to the medical staff, he will recover just fine. As for the civilian, she was taken to the officer to the hospital, and the Sheriff said she is also out of danger.
Bailey told the press that the force was working very hard to unveil what happened in the cell block. On Monday night, the bodies were still in the building so that the forensics team could analyze the evidence. The authorities announced the place is going to remain on a lock-down until Tuesday morning when the investigation is expected to be over, Bailey said.
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The inmate’s ex-wife, Jessica Gordon, identified him as Larry Darnell Gordon. She talked to him on the phone the day before the shooting, and she told the officers Gordon had not mentioned anything about trying to escape. Despite his criminal record, Gordon’s ex-wife describes him as a loving husband and father. She said he probably felt desperate about being separated from his children and improvised the failed escape.
“I’m very sorry for their loss and their family’s loss. We are also grieving the loss of our loved one,” she said. “I have to believe with all my heart – he was terrified of not seeing his family again.”