Two court bailiffs were killed and a police officer shot Monday inside a southwestern Michigan courthouse when an inmate broke loose and got his hands on a deputy’s gun, officials said.
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told local media at a press conference the gunman, whose identity was not immediately available, was killed by responding police.
“Brave officers” took down the shooter, Bailey said.
Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit told news media personnel on ground that a civilian was also shot, and but is in stable condition.
The incident occurred just days after five Dallas police officers were killed by a sniper, and amid a wave of violence and threats against law eforcement officers around the country.
The gunfire erupted on the third floor of the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph around 2:30 p.m., Fox 17 reported. Bailey said the deputy sheriff who was shot is in stable condition at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, Mich. A post on the Berrien County Sheriff’s Facebook page said the officer was shot in left arm and finger.
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.
The courthouse is located about 50 miles west of Kalamazoo, where an Uber driver killed six people in a shooting spree earlier this year.
Michigan state Gov. Rick Snyder announced on his Twitter handle that the Michigan State Police has secured the scene, and investigation has begun into the shooting.
MSP has secured the scene at the Berrien County courthouse and started its investigation into the shooting that occurred this afternoon.
— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) tweeted
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich, who is from St. Joseph, described Monday’s shooting as a “horrific situation.”
“What occurred today in my hometown breaks my heart. My thoughts are with our entire community – our friends and neighbors,” he said in a statement. “This tragic event reminds us all too well that our law enforcement officers have their lives on the line every day not knowing what that day will bring. We have lost two very able public servants and we all grieve for them and their families.”
St. Joseph is located in far southwestern Michigan’s Berrien County, which borders Indiana.