Bailiffs cleared in fatal shooting of inmate

ST. JOSEPH (AP) — Two bailiffs involved in the fatal shooting of a jail inmate at a southwest Michigan courthouse in July won’t be criminally charged in the incident.

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic said recently the shooting of inmate Larry Gordon, 44, was justified, clearing bailiffs Milt Russell and Rick Lull of criminal responsibility in his death.

Sepic said he based his decision on interviews with witnesses and courthouse employees, police reports, photographs, autopsy reports, courthouse video and a letter Gordon wrote to his ex-wife saying he was going on the run or would die trying because he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Gordon was facing possible life in prison on rape and kidnapping charges involving a 17-year-old girl.

Moments after a handcuffed Gordon had been removed from a courtroom on July 11, a security camera recorded sounds of a struggle from an adjacent holding area.

Police said Gordon attacked and disarmed Deputy James Atterberry Jr. and wounded him. Bailiffs Ronald Kienzle, 63, and Joseph Zangaro, 61, rushed to the area and were shot and killed.

No other inmates have been found criminally accountable in connection with the incident.