Sheriff: 2 bailiffs, suspect dead in Michigan courthouse shooting Today

Berrien County Courthouse

Berrien County Courthouse


ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — Two bailiffs in a southwestern Michigan county courthouse were killed in a shooting by an inmate, the county sheriff said Monday.

The unnamed suspect in the shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse was killed by other officers, County Sheriff Paul Bailey said. A deputy was also wounded.
Gov. Rick Snyder tweeted that state police had secured the scene and started its investigation.

A Berrien County Commissioner told WBND that a man who was on his way to jail took a gun off a deputy and started opening fire.

Bailey told the Detroit Free Press the shooting happened about 2:25 p.m. when a “disturbance” occurred on the third floor of the courthouse.
“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,” Bailey said.

The sheriff’s deputy is in stable condition at Lakeland Regional Hospital, he said. “Several civilians” were also taken to Lakeland and are in stable condition.
“They went for shelter once the shooting occurred and other brave officers were able to come to their rescue and take the shooter down,” Bailey said.
The sheriff’s department is investigating the shootings along with the St. Joseph’s Police Department and Michigan State Police, he said.

Bailey called the shootings a “terrible, terrible” event and said additional information would be released later Monday.

“We’re asking people to pray for the families of the deceased,” Bailey said.
Retired Benton Township Police officer Kim Fowler knew both of the slain bailiffs well. He said he worked with one of the men for a quarter of a century at Benton Township. The other, a retired state trooper, was his neighbor. He said he was stunned by the news, calling both men “100% police officers carrying on in their retirement by being in the courtroom.”

Fowler said the last time he recalled a law enforcement officer being killed in the line of duty in Berrien County was in 1984 when Michigan State Trooper Robert Mihalik was killed during a traffic stop in Shoreham, just south of St. Joseph.
“There are always sporadic incidents everywhere in the country,” Fowler said. “Fortunately nothing has happened recently here, but I guess it was our turn in the barrel.”

Berrien County Commissioner Jeanette Leahey told the Free Press, “We’re in a difficult time in the world. We all know that. It’s unfortunate that it’s coming close to home. … I’m discouraged and disgusted.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow tweeted: “Horrible news out of Berrien County just now. I am monitoring the situation closely and my heart breaks for everyone affected.”
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who represents the district, said in a statement: “What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart.”

Upton added, “As we learn more about this horrific situation, one thing is clear: We must do better to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring.”

About David Robinson

David Robinson is an Author and Journalist living in the mid-coast area of Maine. He is a Graduate and Alumni of the Brunswick Police Academy. He served as a JUROR seated on the Cumberland County, Maine, Grand Jury for the first four month session of 2014. Publisher Robinson served 3 months of a 4 month sentence for Conspiracy to defraud the United States, at the FCI Berlin minimum security Satellite Camp in Berlin New Hampshire, as retaliation after he and a friend sued the IRS, unsuccessfully, for Unfair Trade Practices, under Title 15 of the US Code.
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