Two bailiffs have been killed and two others injured after a gunman grabbed a deputy’s weapon and opened fire inside a Michigan courthouse before he was shot dead by officers, authorities said.
The shooting occurred on the third floor of the Berrien County courthouse in St. Joseph, which is around 100 miles northeast of Chicago, on Monday afternoon.
The suspect was an inmate who was was being moved at the courthouse when he disarmed an officer and opened fire, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said. He has not been identified. Speaking at a news conference on Monday evening, Bailey said the prisoner was being moved from a holding cell when he shot two bailiffs before ‘brave officers’ took him down.
‘I stand here with a heavy heart,’ he said. ‘A person has shot two bailiffs. They’re both deceased.’
Bailey said both of the victims were retired police officers, the Detroit Free Press reports.
A sheriff’s deputy who was shot was in a stable condition at a hospital as well as another person who was injured, although how that person was hurt was not immediately clear.
‘The person had shot two bailiffs, they’re both deceased, and shot a deputy sheriff who is at the hospital right now being treated in an emergency room,’ Sheriff Bailey said. Other people in the vicinity sought shelter before ‘brave officers were able to come to their rescue and take the shooter down,’ the sheriff said.
He didn’t elaborate, but said he felt ‘terrible’ about the deaths. Others who were injured when the gunman opened fire were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph for treatment. Bailey added that the shooting is being investigated by the sheriff’s department as well as by the St. Joseph’s Police Department and Michigan State Police.
Michigan State Police and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, reached by telephone, confirmed there had been a shooting, but declined to give any details. The St. Joseph Public Safety Department was unavailable for comment.