Two Bailiffs Killed At A Michigan Courthouse

by Seth Millstein

A shooting at a Michigan courthouse Monday left three people dead, including the gunman. At a press conference, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said that an inmate managed to break loose at around 2:30 p.m., grabbing a law enforcement officer's gun while being escorted to jail and firing. Police soon arrived and shot and killed the perpetrator. But who are the Berrien County courthouse victims?

The gunman reportedly shot and killed two bailiffs before being killed himself. While the bailiffs have not been identified yet, Bailey said that they had both been working in law enforcement for "a long time." Additionally, a deputy and at least one civilian were shot during the incident; the deputy is in stable condition at a local hospital. In general, not much is yet known about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Bailey confirmed that it took place in a corridor, as opposed to a courtroom. But nobody involved has yet been identified, and Bailey says that an investigation is underway to determine how the inmate managed to break free and procure a weapon.

The courthouse in question is in southwest Michigan, near the Indiana border. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced on Twitter that state police have secured the area and are investigating the killing, and according to Bailey, local and county detectives are in the process of interviewing witnesses.

"[The gunman] shot a civilian in the arm and was taken down by two other bailiffs who came to render aid, along with several other officers," Bailey said in a second press conference. "We will be releasing their names later tonight after we make sure that all family have been notified of their passing." He added that counselors will be coming in to talk to employees of the court, and that the courthouse itself will be closed tomorrow.

"I ask that all Michiganders put your prayers out, your thoughts on prayers, for the family of lost law enforcement officials," said Gov. Snyder, who also attended the press conference. "We should all be standing together to say, 'How do we support one another, and how do we work to make sure these things don't happen?'"